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Bio-One 'Extreme Cleaning' Biz Owner Treats Cops, Cleans Squads

Patch logo Patch 5/14/2021 Marlene Lang
a man standing in front of a building: Two workers for Bio-One stand in Hazmat suits at a worksite in Conshohocken during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. © Bio-One Chester County Two workers for Bio-One stand in Hazmat suits at a worksite in Conshohocken during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

EXTON, PA — A biohazard "extreme cleaning" business is headquartered in Exton, in close proximity to the PA Turnpike and other main roads, so when the calls come in, Bio-One can move out quickly to mitigate the mess.

Tom Gervasio of Downingtown owns the Chester County location of Bio-One, a franchise in the extreme cleaning, biohazard, and trauma scene remediation business.

He's known to send treats to police departments in the area, whether catered meals or personal first aid kits. For National Police Week Gervasio brought the West Whiteland Township Police department first aid kits for on-the-job use. In March he treated the Westtown-East Goshen Regional Police Department to a catered meal. The departments expressed thanks.

It's a natural relationship, Gervasio explained. People don't think much about it, but police work involves some really big cleanup jobs. "It's common for someone the police arrest to bleed, or to vomit in the police car. Sometimes people urinate, or they are very uncooperative and might spit or even defecate in the police cars."

That's when Bio-One steps in — usually within an hour or two, the mess is cleaned up, using proprietary chemicals and sometimes with workers wearing Hazmat suits. "Most people don't realize there's an industry behind it," said Gervasio. He explained that when there is bleeding on a scene, someone could have MRSA — a highly resistant staff infection — or c-diff, another serious bacterial infection.

"It definitely takes a certain type of person," he said. He has two full-time employees for his territory who are certified in handling biohazards. Several others he calls occasionally, like for hoarding jobs, which may take four to six people.

"The sights are one thing but the smells are way worse!" He acknowledged it's sometimes a grizzly operation, but said people are also fascinated with it. "There's a reason why all these reality crime shows are popular," he said.

He started his Bio-One business three years ago, servicing an area of Eastern Pennsylvania from Lancaster County into Bucks County or even New Jersey when needed. He works mostly in Chester County, though.

"I get a lot of fulfillment helping people," Gervasio said. "Sometimes it's the worst day of their life. I walked away from a cushy job to start my own business. This is what I chose."

He acknowledged that being in a business that provides crime, trauma, and biohazard mediation means that his services are needed as a result of something "not great." He added, "It's unfortunate all the things I see, but I say, 'It has to be done.'"

But it's not all grizzly cleanup. "We even get as low mouse droppings," Gervasio said. Rental properties sometimes have odor issues that require a professional. The company can address cat smells, dead animal odor, and other unpleasant olfactory conditions.

The pandemic did not hit Bio-One hard as it did other businesses, the business owner explained. He said Bio-One stepped right into the role of COVID-19 disinfection early in 2020.

"That just exploded. Everyone wanted to be safe. It had a huge impact, but not in the usual way," he said.

Crime was down, so those calls diminished a bit, but unfortunately, he said, suicides did not slow down. "People have been shut in, alone."

The company has been a silver sponsor for the memorial wall in Washington D.C. for fallen police officers.

Bio-One Founder and CEO Nick-Anthony Zamucen, paid tribute to fallen law enforcement officers during the 33rd annual National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund candlelight vigil this week. "We sleep peacefully in our beds at night because brave men and women have dedicated their lives to serving and protecting."

Zamucen said, "We pay tribute to 394 law enforcement officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice (in 2020). To the loved ones of the fallen, the entire Bio-One family sends our deepest gratitude and utmost respect."

Gervasio takes calls to Chester County Bio-One directly. "There's no call center. I talk to people myself. I answer calls at 1:30 in the morning, sometimes at 5 in the morning," he said. He works with the Crime Victims Center in Chester County and said he knows he has to be available when the "not great" things happen.

West Whiteland Township Police this week posted thanks to Gervasio. "WWPD would like to thank Tom from BioOne for the generous donation of personal first aid kits for National Police Week!"

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