Manitoba

Winnipeg tenant shocked by blood that seeped into apartment from upstairs unit

A Winnipeg man was shocked to find blood seeping through the bathroom ceiling in his apartment unit last weekend, and says building management only took his concerns seriously after he shared the discovery on social media. 

Warning: This story contains graphic content that readers may find disturbing

Adam Hockett says he's speaking out because he feels his property manager dismissed his concerns about seeing blood dripping from his bathroom ceiling. (Facebook/Adam Hockett)

A Winnipeg man says he was shocked to see blood seeping through the bathroom ceiling in his apartment last weekend, and says building management only took his concerns seriously after he shared the discovery on social media.

Adam Hockett said the incident occurred last Saturday night when he noticed blood seeping into his bathroom from the ceiling.

Hockett said the building's caretaker later discovered a tenant in the suite above his unit had died.

Hockett said his bathroom sink, a wall and some of his clothes were stained by blood. He called the caretaker's supervisor who told him told him it wasn't his responsibility to clean his suite.

The building is managed by Sussex Realty.

Hockett said the supervisor laughed at his complaint and he was told to call his insurance company or wait for the Sussex office to open Tuesday. He feels his concerns were dismissed.

"If someone exhausted their efforts to help you, you can't be mad at them," Hockett said, "but to mock someone and laugh at them, that's not what adults do." 

Winnipeg police, who removed the body three hours after responding to the call, say it's believed the tenant's death is non-criminal.

Hockett, a member of the U.S. military, told the Sussex employee it wasn't feasible to live in a suite overwhelmed by the smell of blood.

Professional cleaners hired

"He said, 'You're a [military] veteran, you should be used to it.'"

By Sunday morning, Hockett wrote a Facebook post to explain what happened, which has been shared thousands of times on social media.

He says Sussex called him shortly after. The company said in a statement that a professional cleaning company was sent to the apartment that morning.

Hockett said the main tragedy from this incident is the loss of life, but felt he had to ensure nobody faces the same inaction from their building manager.

"It took a lot of shares on social media for things to start changing around," Hockett said.

He is staying with friends temporarily, but he worries how other people with fewer means than him would have handled the same situation.

In a statement, Sussex Realty described the incident as "understandably traumatic to the resident in question and also for the friends and family of the resident above."

Blood stains a light in the bathroom of Adam Hockett's suite. (Facebook/Adam Hockett)

"We extend our heartfelt sympathies to those involved."

The company did not answer questions regarding their employee's conduct. 

Sussex is offering to end Hockett's lease and help him find a new place to stay, the tenant said. They also want him to remove the Facebook post and sign a non-disclosure agreement.

He said he hasn't made up his mind.

While the police were tasked with removing the body, Winnipeg Police Service Const. Jay Murray said the cleaning of bodily fluids is not the responsibility of law enforcement.

Professional companies can assist, and many home insurance policies cover the cost of remediation, he said. 

Hockett said he applauds the building caretaker who promptly responded to his suite and barged into the unit above to check on the man's well-being. He was dead when they arrived. 

Caretaker rattled by death

"I could tell he was obviously shaken by the incident," Hockett said. "He had to witness everything and I don't wish that upon anyone."

He was initially numb to the sight in his bathroom, and says adrenalin took over when he rushed upstairs to find the man. 

He felt helpless when he realized his neighbour already died. The traumatic experience reminded him of a fellow solider dying in a training exercise, he said. 

"I hate complaining about it because a gentleman lost his life and I feel selfish even worrying about my issues because a life is way more important," he said. 

The suite's address has not been disclosed because family has not been notified of his death. 

Corrections

  • A previous version of this story said police arrived three hours later to remove the body. In fact, the body was removed about three hours after police responded.
    Feb 19, 2020 6:11 AM CT

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ian Froese

Provincial Affairs Reporter

Ian Froese covers provincial politics and its impact for CBC Manitoba. He previously reported on a bit of everything for newspapers. You can reach him at ian.froese@cbc.ca.

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