Wednesday, October 7 , 2015, 1:17 pm | Fair 75º

Santa Barbara Hazmat Team Called In for Decomposing Body

Property manager discovered remains, which are believed to have been inside residence for 3 weeks

Santa Barbara city hazmat crews prepare to remove a badly decomposed body that was found Wednesday in a residence.
Santa Barbara city hazmat crews prepare to remove a badly decomposed body that was found Wednesday in a residence.  (Zack Warburg photo)

By Giana Magnoli, Noozhawk News Editor | @magnoli |

Santa Barbara City Fire hazmat crew was dispatched to the corner of Mission and Castillo streets Wednesday afternoon to pick up a body that was badly decomposed.

“It was in an apartment and as far as I can tell, there’s nothing suspicious about the death,” police Sgt. Riley Harwood told Noozhawk.

“The person was discovered by the property manager, and had been deceased for about three weeks,” Harwood said.

Police responded just before 10:30 a.m. to a residence with two separate, adjoining units in the 2000 block of Castillo Street to check on the welfare of a resident, and then called the Santa Barbara County Coroner’s Office, according to Santa Barbara Fire Battalion Chief Lee Waldron. 

Since the Coroner’s Office couldn’t move the body due to its advanced state of decay, he said, the hazardous materials crew was called in.

Waldron said the deceased resident was wedged between a bed and a wall, describing the scene as “ugly and smelly.”

Crew members wore waterproof Tyvek coverall suits and breathing apparatuses to avoid the odor.

Once the body was recovered, Waldron said it would be transported to the coroner, likely for cremation.

He couldn’t provide any other details about the victim, noting that the hazardous materials teams gets called out for these types of requests two to three times a year.

“You would think that somebody would’ve noticed before now,” Waldron said. “It's kind of sad.”

There hasn't been a positive identification of the body yet, but it is a man around 50 years old, Harwood said. 

"We believe it's the resident at that location," he said. "If is who we think it is, then the department is familiar with him and he had chronic health issues, so it would be nothing suspicious." 

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff reported from the scene. 

Noozhawk news editor Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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