Minneapolis Fire Department to improve crime scene cleanup

When Minneapolis police finish gathering evidence after a violent crime, the policy is to call the Minneapolis Fire Department for cleanup. Some residents have said the MFD hasn't done a good job of that. The assistant chief says that's about to change.

“If they come for a roadside memorial they have to relive it or to grieve their loss, they have to stand in a puddle of blood. And they have to look at tissue and remains. It's an open grave,” said Phillip Murphy, a Minneapolis resident.

For years, Murphy has been complaining about blood and other matter not properly removed after a violent crime.  Members of the media have also seen what appears to be blood sometimes days after the crime.

Fox 9 shot video a woman last May who was using jugs of water to remove stains still on the street 24 hours after an incident.

Stains and other matter remain after Sunday's murder on Colfax.

“Four days, four days and this guy is still in the gutter,” said Murphy.

On Wednesday, the Minneapolis Fire Department presented newly adopted guidelines for "trauma scene clean up" to the Public Safety Committee.  Starting Friday, in addition to hosing down the scene, the trucks will be now equipped with bleach and a scrub brush.

“When you look up best practices regarding blood-borne pathogens, a bleach and water solution is what you'll find,” said Assistant Chief Bryan Tyner of the Minneapolis Fire Department.

But why the issue has gotten to this point is unclear. Tyner said some crimes happen at night and they can't see all that's there.

“Why isn't it protocol or procedure to just come back out at daylight and finish the job? Well that may be something we have to look at. I think, in the past, we dealt with the assumption that if we can't see it we have finished the job,” said Tyner.

With the gang fights still a hot problem in north Minneapolis, maybe now, the remnants of them won't be.

“How come the fire department hasn't done a better job of cleaning up crime scenes? I really can't answer that except to say we're trying to do a better job now,” said Tyner.

Tyner also said residents could call them for cleanup if they feel the job is not complete.