HOUSTON - The owner of the Esperanza Funeral Home says it’s been serving northeast Houston for 20 years without any problems.
The words on their sign say, “Dignity, diligence and diversity.” The owner says they’ve been using the same cleaning method for their vehicles for years, without any problems -- until Thursday.
The outrage started over a Facebook video posted Wednesday that shows the funeral home’s “first call” vehicle being hosed down at a car wash on Lyons Avenue in the Denver Harbor section. The video shows an employee hosing down the inside of the transport vehicle with a tainted fluid pouring out of it and into the car wash bay drain.
The person recording the video, who declined to be interviewed for our story, can be heard saying he believed the substance going down the drain was blood. The clip has gotten more than 11,000 views and garnered a slew of comments from people disgusted and outraged.
Debra Castillo was one of them.
“I don’t think it should be done when people in the public come and wash their vehicles. Some kids are barefoot,” Castillo said.
When Castillo saw the clip, she said she called the city of Houston’s 311 complaint line
“I just reported that I saw this on Facebook. I was concerned and wanted them to investigate the Esperanza Funeral Home,” Castillo said.
It appears someone did. KHOU’s camera spotted an inspector with the Department of Health and Human Services at the car wash bays. A short time later, the inspector was seen entering the Esperanza Funeral Home about a block away. The funeral home’s owner, Bono Pulido, says the Facebook post has caused one big misunderstanding.
“What they’re not showing on there is that it’s actually not blood, but it is a combination of citrus and a combination of bleach salt,” Pulido said.
Pulido says his funeral home has been using the same cleaning solution for years, explaining, “So that when we pick up your loved ones, there’s not any odor.”
Pulido says it’s more hazardous to wash out engine parts at the car wash than it is to use his citrus-bleach combination, which he admits can have the appearance of blood.
The disposal of blood would be illegal. The Harris County Health Department says there are serious restrictions on the disposal of bodily fluids, which would apply to any car wash.
Concerned resident Debra Castillo says if it’s not blood, the employee should have explained that to the person who recorded the Facebook video, to avoid any confusion.
“What you see makes the mind go, if it was me, it looks like blood, infected blood? That’s what I’m thinking,” Castillo said.