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Body Discovered in Storage Facility : Van Nuys: Authorities find the man after workers report a foul smell and red liquid dripping from their office ceiling.

August 04, 1993|JEFF SCHNAUFER | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

The body of an unidentified man who had apparently been dead for several days was discovered Tuesday in a Van Nuys storage facility, Los Angeles police reported.

The body was located in a unit belonging to Sherman Oaks-Van Nuys Mini-Storage on the second floor of a four-story structure at 15500 W. Erwin St., police said.

It was discovered by a Los Angeles City Fire Department hazardous materials team, which was investigating complaints by employees of a geological consulting firm, Slosson and Associates, on the building's first floor. Six workers said they were nauseated by a foul smell and a red liquid dripping from their office ceiling.

More than 75 people were evacuated from the office and storage complex while the team searched the building until discovering the body, face down in a storage unit.

Police were called to investigate.

"There is no evidence of foul play and an autopsy will be conducted for further details," Police Lt. Richard Blankenship said. Based on the coroner's initial examination of the body, it may have been in the storage unit for three days, he said.

The red liquid was apparently the dead man's blood, Blankenship said.

Employees of the storage company declined to comment.

"It's very strange," said Phil Weireter, a Fire Department spokesman. "I've been on (the department) 17 years, and I've never seen one like this before."

Paramedics checked the six workers who reported feeling nausea, all of whom later recovered. However, Tuesday's discovery left many of the building's tenants emotionally shaken throughout the day.

"It's kind of like Al Capone's tomb," said one tenant, who asked not be identified. "Nobody is going to notice until they cut it open because they haven't paid the rent."

"It's kind of discombobulating," said Nancy Slosson, officer manager of Slosson and Associates. "The Fire Department said that it was a good idea for us to call because it could have been something lethal. It was lethal but not for us."

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