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Rotten Office Fridge Cleanup Sends 7 To Hospital

samzenpus posted more than 5 years ago | from the step-away-from-the-handle dept.

It's funny.  Laugh. 410

bokske writes "An office worker cleaning a fridge full of rotten food created a smell so noxious that it sent seven co-workers to the hospital and made many others ill. Firefighters had to evacuate the AT&T building in downtown San Jose on Tuesday, after the flagrant fumes prompted someone to call 911. A hazmat team was called in. Just another day at the office."

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Paaaleeese (4, Insightful)

FredFredrickson (1177871) | more than 5 years ago | (#27941195)

It's one thing if spores cause an infection- but going to the hospital cause you don't like a smell? I mean come on. Grow a pair, you know?

Bring on the comments about how so-and-so knows somebody's grandma that was so affected by smell xyz that something bad happened. Big whoop. Unless it's literally chemicals that are affecting your health, or an airborne pathogen, you don't need medical attention.

And please, just because you don't have a sense of smell, doesn't mean you're immune to pathogens.

So much wrong.. must resist reference to idle section... oops too late!

Re:Paaaleeese (5, Insightful)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 5 years ago | (#27941315)

It wasn't really the smell per se, it was the mixture of rotting food and harsh cleaning chemicals that caused a lot of the people to vomit. The warning labels on those things are pretty lengthy.

Re:Paaaleeese (5, Insightful)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 5 years ago | (#27941931)

Untrue. The article explicitly states that the person cleaning the fridge was not affected (effected?) due to allergies which prevent her from smelling. Allergies do not give you superhuman resistance to chlorine gas.

Re:Paaaleeese (2, Informative)

tiny1877 (1060160) | more than 5 years ago | (#27941985)

'Affected' is correct. Affect = Verb Effect = Noun

Re:Paaaleeese (-1, Offtopic)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 5 years ago | (#27942137)

'Affected' is correct. Affect = Verb Effect = Noun

Wrong! Never try to reduce a natural language to a small set of logical rules.

affect 3 |Ëafekt; É(TM)Ëfekt| |ËÃËfÉkt| |É(TM)ËfÉkt| |ËafÉkt|
noun Psychology
emotion or desire, esp. as influencing behavior or action. See note at emotion .

verb [ trans. ] (often be effected)
cause (something) to happen; bring about : nature always effected a cure | budget cuts that were quietly effected over four years.

From the Oxford American Dictionary

Re:Paaaleeese (2, Informative)

giorgiofr (887762) | more than 5 years ago | (#27942149)

Effect can be a verb too. It means to produce, to bring into existence.

Re:Paaaleeese (3, Informative)

FredFredrickson (1177871) | more than 5 years ago | (#27942009)

You've got to be the only person here who read the article.. I picked up on that, and I'm flamebait for picking on people who don't like gross smells. If there was a truely harmful chemical or spore in the air, she would've been affected too. Thanks everybody. Not only didn't you RTFA, but you didn't RTFC either.

Ammonia & Bleach (5, Informative)

Anenome (1250374) | more than 5 years ago | (#27942235)

I think it was when they began cleaning with bleach and chased it with ammonia that did the trouble started.

For the uninitiated: http://everything2.com/title/Mixing%2520bleach%2520and%2520ammonia%2520does%2520not%2520make%2520a%2520super%2520cleaner [everything2.com]

"Exactly why should you not mix ammonia and bleach?

In a nutshell, the combination produces corrosive substances in your airways that cause your lungs to fill with fluid. You drown.

Household bleach is usually about 5% sodium hypochlorite (NaOCl).When mixed with ammonia (NH3), mono- and di-chloramines are formed: NH2Cl and NH2Cl2. These cause respiratory tract irritation, tearing, and nausea.

Worse, these compounds decompose in water to form ammonia gas (nasty in itself) and hypochlorous acid. This last in the presence of water forms hydrochloric acid and nascent (monoatomic) oxygen, which are highly reactive and can lead to pulmonary edema and pneumonia.

There are several ways household ammonia and bleach can react. All of them are dangerous.

Reaction type 1: Ammonia directly reacts with bleach to form hydrazine (N2H4, which, in addition to being extremely poisonous, can burn even in the absence of air! It explodes on contact with rust!

2NH3 + NaOCl -----> N2H4 + NaCl + H2O

Reaction type 2: Bleach hydrolyzes into sodium hydroxide and hypochlorous acid, which in turn decompose into chlorine gas and nascent oxygen (both poisonous). The chlorine gas in turn reacts with the ammonia to form chloramines, also very poisonous.

NaOCl -----> NaOH + HOCl
HOCl ---> HCl + O (monatomic oxygen)
NaOCl + 2HCl -----> Cl2 + NaCl + H2O
2NH3 + Cl2 -------> 2NH2Cl (chloramine)
4NH3 + 2Cl2 ------> 2NHCl2 (dichloramine)
6NH3 + 3Cl2 ------> NCl3 (trichloramine or nitrogen trichloride)"

Re:Paaaleeese (5, Informative)

ShadowBlasko (597519) | more than 5 years ago | (#27941323)

There are quite a few molds and other items that can cause serious respiratory distress for those of us allergic to them. Fast acting too. When I got off the plane in Australia and was exposed to new pollens I my body had never experienced, I was horizontal on a gurney getting anti-histamine treatments within 30 minutes!

Re:Paaaleeese (5, Interesting)

LocutusMIT (10726) | more than 5 years ago | (#27941429)

That's really interesting. I have the opposite reaction— my immune system doesn't recognise new pollens until I've been exposed to them for about a year. Living abroad was heaven.

Re:Paaaleeese (5, Funny)

Shin-LaC (1333529) | more than 5 years ago | (#27942031)

In deadly Australia, even the plants are out to get you.

sounds like vegimite (5, Funny)

meow27 (1526173) | more than 5 years ago | (#27941351)

vegimite..... just smelling that is good enough to go to the hospital.

just smelling it killed my apetite for a month.

new Zealanders eat it like as if it were creamcheese

could have been vegimite :P

Re:sounds like vegimite (3, Funny)

Peter Simpson (112887) | more than 5 years ago | (#27941397)

It's "Vegemite" and yes, it is an "acquired taste"

(best acquired in childhood)

Vegetamite (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27941817)

It's "Vegemite" and yes, it is an "acquired taste"

(best acquired in childhood)

Vegetamite... pollen level... OVER NINE THOUSAND!

Re:sounds like vegimite (1)

bothemeson (1416261) | more than 5 years ago | (#27941423)

...but isn't!

I reckon you mean vegemite - the national dish of Australians (the world over).

I wouldn't like to get between an Ocker and you if he finds out you've said his fave grub was from Kiwi-land!

Re:Paaaleeese (5, Informative)

Spazmania (174582) | more than 5 years ago | (#27941365)

It's one thing if spores cause an infection- but going to the hospital cause you don't like a smell? I mean come on. Grow a pair, you know?

RTFA. The fridge was full of mold. Many folks are allergic to mold, especially in quantity.

Re:Paaaleeese (1)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 5 years ago | (#27941547)

Some forms of mold can be toxic even to those not specifically allergic to mold.

A friend of mine and his wife got quite sick after cleaning out her brother's fridge, and he still has some lingering health effects from the mold exposure.

Re:Paaaleeese (3, Informative)

Shin-LaC (1333529) | more than 5 years ago | (#27942135)

Indeed, molds are nothing to scoff at. Mark Tatum [wikipedia.org] lost half his face [prweb.com] to a toxic mold infection.

Re:Paaaleeese (3, Interesting)

FredFredrickson (1177871) | more than 5 years ago | (#27941825)

Since nobody read my comment, I'll reiterate-

Unless it's literally chemicals that are affecting your health, or an airborne pathogen, you don't need medical attention.

Now, from TFA:

Authorities said the worker who cleaned the fridge didn't need treatment - she can't smell because of allergies.

I don't think a lack of the sense of smell makes you immuned. They were grossed out by a harmless smell, apparently. RTFA.

Re:Paaaleeese (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 5 years ago | (#27941407)

Unless it's literally chemicals that are affecting your health, or an airborne pathogen, you don't need medical attention.

What do you think odors are? They are chemicals.

If chemicals induce vomiting, they are affecting your health... repeated vomiting can have some nasty effects (like difficulties breathing due to rib muscle injury, or major capillary damage that can affect eyesight, or aspiration of stomach contents leading to pulmonary infection).

Never mind potential allergic reactions.

And never mind the affects of concentrated cleaning solvents in poorly-ventilated areas, which seems also to have been part of the problem.

Oops. Fed the troll.

Re:Paaaleeese (4, Insightful)

Chabo (880571) | more than 5 years ago | (#27941687)

If chemicals induce vomiting, they are affecting your health... repeated vomiting can have some nasty effects (like difficulties breathing due to rib muscle injury, or major capillary damage that can affect eyesight, or aspiration of stomach contents leading to pulmonary infection).

Don't forget vocal chord rupture. [progrock.com] James Labrie of Dream Theater had this happen after eating in Cuba and getting food poisoning. Ten years later, he was fully recovered. In the meantime, he had nowhere near the vocal range that he used to. (parodied in the James Labrie Action Figure [blobvandam.com] commercial)

Re:Paaaleeese (1)

rackserverdeals (1503561) | more than 5 years ago | (#27942241)

OK, you have to fill me in. What's with the shovel? I haven't followed the band in a while. Did some searching and didn't find anything.

Not even in wikipedia but I did learn he sang backup for Life in Still Water which was one of my favorite songs to play.

Got a link to the digging story?

Re:Paaaleeese (0, Redundant)

FredFredrickson (1177871) | more than 5 years ago | (#27941847)

Since you didn't read my comment, I'll direct you to this: comment [slashdot.org] .

Re:Paaaleeese (1)

bsdaemonaut (1482047) | more than 5 years ago | (#27941641)

Wow, your wrong in so many ways. People die from huffing every day. Inhaling fumes whether it's a gas resulting from chemicals, rotting food, or human excrement does not have favorable outcomes.

Re:Paaaleeese (1)

FredFredrickson (1177871) | more than 5 years ago | (#27942023)

However, huffing them, and not smelling them, makes you immuned? I suggest you RTFA.

http://entertainment.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1231883&cid=27941825

Re:Paaaleeese (1)

dfm3 (830843) | more than 5 years ago | (#27941707)

TFA says that several cleaners were used, and the video mentions some sort of spray cleanser. Know what happens when you mix cleaners? The result isn't pretty. Fumes of toxic compounds such as chlorine, Chloramine, or even hydrazine can be produced. I once personally saw a building that had to be evacuated because somebody mixed bleach and ammonia when cleaning a restroom.

While TFA doesn't explicitly state whether this happened or not, it isn't that much of a stretch.

Re:Paaaleeese (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#27941829)

It's one thing if spores cause an infection- but going to the hospital cause you don't like a smell? I mean come on. Grow a pair, you know?

I read an article about this before it appeared here. The problem wasn't the smell, it was that the woman used two incompatible cleaning chemicals and created some kind of magical gas that can kill people. You know, kind of like mixing ammonia and chlorine bleach? But this wasn't as bad as that.

The linked article says the following:

[...] while using two cleaning chemicals to scrub down the mess. The mixture of old lunches and disinfectant caused 28 people to need treatment for vomiting and nausea.

But a superior article [sfgate.com] came out today:

The woman, who was suffering from a sinus problem and couldn't smell the chemical, then used a second solution, Stallard said. The two chemicals interacted in the air, adding to an already pungent odor caused by the rotten food.

"Discarding the food isn't so critical, but more critical is the cleaning chemical, making sure you know what you're using," Stallard said. "Don't combine chemicals - you're never supposed to combine chemicals."

See, it's not the smell, it's the chemical [tripod.com] . When I went to interview for a job with Mendocino County, there was a very nice pamphlet with citations by the same title. (It appears on this Mendo Mental Health Board agenda [mendolibrary.org] as a footnote... I have contacted MCWOW [mendocino.ca.us] to see if I can get my hands on a PDF) But the simple truth is that chemicals even from different perfumes can combine into potentially hazardous compounds — the added scents from the two cleaners could well have combined into something genuinely toxic. Generally speaking, the nausea from simply smelling something disgusting is extremely transient.

Re:Paaaleeese (0, Redundant)

FredFredrickson (1177871) | more than 5 years ago | (#27941907)

TFA that's linked on slashdot mentions her lack of smell was the reason she wasn't hospitalized. Sounds to me like it was just a gross smell- not a dangerous smell.

Re:Paaaleeese (1)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 5 years ago | (#27942297)

The smell of rotten food is known to induce vomiting, and that's a reaction from the body to avoid food poisoning.

Re:Paaaleeese (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 5 years ago | (#27942061)

You, sir, have never been exposed to leftover take out Chinese food that sat in a wastebasket during a hot summer weekend. The smell was bad enough to knock zombies over dead.

Cowboy Bebop, Anyone? (5, Funny)

Dripdry (1062282) | more than 5 years ago | (#27941285)

Toys in the Attic: "So what was the real lesson? Don't leave things in the fridge."

Re:Cowboy Bebop, Anyone? (5, Funny)

Moryath (553296) | more than 5 years ago | (#27941433)

It's livin' in the Fridge! you can't stop the mold from groooooowwwiiinnnn...

Re:Cowboy Bebop, Anyone? What about office (1)

davidsyes (765062) | more than 5 years ago | (#27941519)

procedures? I guess one could recall the commercials of old.... "AT&T: The RIGHT choice"... how bout in this case?

Maybe refrigerators could be sold with fill and vacuum fittings so that a suction hose could be attached and suck fumes and fume-killers as a neutralizer gas (might or might not be toxic for people/pet food) to reduce the risk of deadly, emergent shit.

Re:Cowboy Bebop, Anyone? (1)

SolarStorm (991940) | more than 5 years ago | (#27941553)

Actually, the real lesson is: dont clean! (now thats my kind of lesson)

Re:Cowboy Bebop, Anyone? (1)

Randle_Revar (229304) | more than 5 years ago | (#27941651)

I came here to say this, but I see you have it covered.

Re:Cowboy Bebop, Anyone? (2, Funny)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 5 years ago | (#27941887)

Toys in the Attic:
"So what was the real lesson? Don't leave things in the fridge."

I was just about to post the same thing. I wonder whether the hazmat team included a kid to just eat the offending rot.

Re:Cowboy Bebop, Anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27942197)

"I got a hold of a real Ganymede rock lobster. I put it in the storage fridge so no one else would eat it and I forgot about it for a whole year. I wonder what it looks like after all this time?"

You beat me. I've been watching the whole series the last couple of weeks on DVD (they finally released a good remaster).

Man, did I laugh at that episode. I almost fell out of my chair laughing.

Unfortunately the hazmat team didn't have it as easy as pushing the whole fridge out the airlock.

Apparantly (2, Funny)

Chlorine Trifluoride (1517149) | more than 5 years ago | (#27941287)

They forgot to clean out the fridge at the Michael Scott Paper Company.

Re:Apparantly (1)

Praeluceo (528253) | more than 5 years ago | (#27942229)

Surely you meant to say Dunder Mifflin Paper Company? Heaven forbid Michael Scott ever become anything more than middle management!

Chemistry lab (5, Interesting)

stillnotelf (1476907) | more than 5 years ago | (#27941295)

I've worked in a chemistry lab that shared space with a lab using some really noxious amine compounds (cadaverine is named that way for a reason...). Mostly they weren't hospital-toxic, just nasty. Whenever they had to open their fridge we cleared out of the room for 10 minutes to let the fumes dissipate up the venting hoods.

Re:Chemistry lab (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27942005)

"using two cleaning chemicals" bleach + ammonia = chlorine gas, hydrazine, chloramines = lung damage.
might not have been the food.

Re:Chemistry lab (5, Interesting)

smellsofbikes (890263) | more than 5 years ago | (#27942169)

Be glad you weren't working next to an intense lachrymator like some of the ethyne derivatives. It's amazing to watch someone open a container in a fume hood and within ten seconds everyone in the lab is running for the door with tears streaming down their faces (and retching.)

A terminal diamine only one carbon off cadaverine is named putrescine. It's also pretty nasty. Even purified butyric acid is astoundingly horrible stuff: years later, even a whiff of slightly rancid butter (from which name butyric acid derives) makes my stomach turn.

Better be careful... (2, Funny)

Smidge207 (1278042) | more than 5 years ago | (#27941303)

I hear you can be arrested for taking pictures of an open 'fridge's innards. ;-)

=Smidge=

Indiana Jones (5, Funny)

RedShirtsDieFirst (1549159) | more than 5 years ago | (#27941325)

Did they find Indy inside?

Re:Indiana Jones (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27941517)

Yes they did, and oddly enough, tucked away in the corner was a small bowl of Chilled Monkey Brains.

Re:Indiana Jones (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27942093)

Did they find Indy inside?

Did they find Indy inside?

I don't think he made it...

The main rule (5, Funny)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 5 years ago | (#27941331)

If you can't tell what something is through the plastic wrapper due to strange color or texture, then don't open it! Nothing good ever came out of one of these packages.

Re:The main rule (5, Funny)

93,000 (150453) | more than 5 years ago | (#27941425)

Likewise, when someone says 'Hey, smell this,' never, NEVER do it. It will not end well.

That's the first rule I taught my children. Then I moved on to that talking to strangers thing.

Re:The main rule (5, Informative)

Chabo (880571) | more than 5 years ago | (#27941565)

As a former chemist, I'm willing to smell something, but I never let anyone stick something in my face; if I'm going to smell something, it's either going to be on a flat surface, or in MY hand. Then I "waft" the scent towards my nose from a good distance with my hand, and if I still can't smell anything, then I might go closer.

Acid fumes teach you that lesson real quick.

Re:The main rule (5, Funny)

commodoresloat (172735) | more than 5 years ago | (#27942051)

if I'm going to smell something, it's either going to be on a flat surface, or in MY hand.

Acid fumes teach you that lesson real quick.

Let me get this straight so I don't mess it up ... if I'm going to be smelling acid fumes, I should pour the acid on my hand first?

Re:The main rule (1)

Chabo (880571) | more than 5 years ago | (#27942095)

Hold the container in your hand, or place it on a flat surface. The point is, if I'm smelling something, I'm not letting someone stick it in my face.

fumes (1)

snspdaarf (1314399) | more than 5 years ago | (#27942101)

Acid fumes teach you that lesson real quick.

So does nitroglycerin. Unless you enjoy a headache

Re:The main rule (5, Insightful)

Chabo (880571) | more than 5 years ago | (#27941481)

My last employer was decently small (~100 people), and there were strict rules to try to prevent this problem:

If it has no name, throw it out, even if it's not yours.
If it has a name but no date, ask the person about it, and throw it out if they don't say "keep it". If they tell you they'll take care of it, don't believe them.
If it has a name and an old date, ask the person about it, and be prepared to throw it out.
Every month or so, send out an e-mail saying "Everything in the fridge gets thrown out by the end of the day.", and then do it.

My current employer is a larger company, and just has a policy of emptying all fridges at the end of every week.

Re:The main rule (5, Interesting)

mmkkbb (816035) | more than 5 years ago | (#27941693)

I worked for a company that built label printers. They conveniently placed an automatic label printer at every fridge. You pressed a button, and a label would print out with an expiration date. Anything past expiration or without a label was tossed daily.

Re:The main rule (5, Funny)

stefanlasiewski (63134) | more than 5 years ago | (#27942273)

If it has a name but no date, LEAVE IT ON THEIR DESK ON FRIDAY at 5:00PM.

If it has a name and an old date, LEAVE IT ON THEIR DESK ON FRIDAY at 5:00PM.

Every month or so, check if anyone is on a 3 week vacation, then send out an e-mail saying "Everything in the fridge gets LEFT ON THE VACATIONERS DESK", and then do it.

And the one cleaning the fridge? (3, Funny)

Gat0r30y (957941) | more than 5 years ago | (#27941363)

28 people to need treatment for vomiting and nausea.

There is no justice.

Authorities said the worker who cleaned the fridge didn't need treatment â" she can't smell because of allergies.

Strange coincidence (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 5 years ago | (#27941367)

I have just finish cleaning my fridge, no kidding! Creepy.

There's something weird in the fridge today... (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 5 years ago | (#27941373)

...I don't know what it is.
Food I can't recogni-i-ize...

Re:There's something weird in the fridge today... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27941865)

If you can judge a sandwich
By the color of its mold
Then mister, you're a better mannnnnnnn than I-I-I... YAH!

Re:There's something weird in the fridge today... (4, Funny)

snspdaarf (1314399) | more than 5 years ago | (#27942185)

As Carlin used to say, "Could be steak, could be cake!"

You idiots.... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27941377)

That was my lunch you assholes. I was saving that......

Re:You idiots.... (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 5 years ago | (#27941437)

That was my lunch you assholes. I was saving that......

"Someone has disposed of all our blue, furry food!"

Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27941379)

Now that's what I call a sticky situation!

Oh Man! They threw Away My Lunch! (2, Funny)

SirBitBucket (1292924) | more than 5 years ago | (#27941391)

There's always some bozo who has to go and throw away my lunch. Who are they to judge the malodoressness of my victuals??

Monthly tossing day? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27941403)

Our office has a policy. Anything left in the fridge after the 31st of every month is removed start of the next business day and thrown out. (Unless it has the current days date on it.)

Aha! (2, Funny)

AngryK9 (1553903) | more than 5 years ago | (#27941409)

So it's true. AT&T really does stink.

My fridge... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27941415)

If someone opened my fridge right now....I'd be charged with chemical or biological warfare...it's horrendous.

The lower compartments I haven't opened in several months and I know whatever is growing down there is alive...

Food goes to its grave in my fridge.

Please... no more (0, Troll)

wigaloo (897600) | more than 5 years ago | (#27941469)

If I wanted to read about stuff like this, I wouldn't have disabled idle.slashdot.org in my preferences. This is neither "News for Nerds" nor "Stuff that Matters". And how exactly is this "Entertainment"? Please don't continue to ruin slashdot with this crap.

It wasn't the Fridge... (5, Funny)

Root Down (208740) | more than 5 years ago | (#27941479)

Note that if you read the sentence carefully, there is nothing that said the fridge itself was the cause of the odor!

"AN OFFICE WORKER cleaning a fridge full of rotten food CREATED A SMELL so noxious that it sent seven co-workers to the hospital..."

I'm pretty sure every office has one of those guys...

Re:It wasn't the Fridge... (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 5 years ago | (#27941667)

"This message was paid for by Americans for Refrigeration Freedom." Was it really necessary to stand up for the fridge in this story?

Re:It wasn't the Fridge... (2, Funny)

Migraineman (632203) | more than 5 years ago | (#27941813)

About a decade ago, I worked with a Vietnamese guy. His very-traditional Vietnamese wife would prepare his lunch for him every day. Wednesdays were ... the dreaded "dead fish" sandwich. Folks learned to avoid the beak room, as he would put this fish-goop sandwich into the microwave and ... OH GOD, THE HORRID STENCH ! I'M HAVING A FLASHBACK !!! KILL ME NOW.

I don't know what it was, but it had the power to clear the second-floor break room in about 30 seconds.

Re:It wasn't the Fridge... (1)

DieNadel (550271) | more than 5 years ago | (#27941833)

Ha, so true... we call ours "The Bomberman" :-D

Not Friday... (2, Funny)

bughunter (10093) | more than 5 years ago | (#27941491)

For a second, I thought it was Friday on Slashdot.

Just another day at the office for me... (5, Informative)

AB3A (192265) | more than 5 years ago | (#27941515)

--of course I have job sites on sewer pumping stations and waste-water treatment plants.

Not only does it smell bad where I work, but it can kill you if you're not careful. People dump all sorts of things down the drain that they shouldn't. I've heard stories of entire tanker loads of gasoline getting dumped, Ether, Perc [epa.gov] , Jet fuel, and some mysterious stuff that glowed blue coming from what used to be called the National Bureau of Standards (now NIST).

During large thunderstorms, the sewer pipes often see huge flows that scour all the grease that people dump down the drain (DON'T DUMP GREASE DOWN THE DRAIN!) in to large globs the size of beach balls. These tend to block flow at the waste-water stations and cause sewer backup until someone can get down there and pitch-fork it apart.

And Mike Rowe thinks HE does dirty jobs...

Re:Just another day at the office for me... (4, Informative)

Muad'Dave (255648) | more than 5 years ago | (#27941681)

Submit it to discovery.com/dirtyjobs - you might be famous!

Re:Just another day at the office for me... (2, Interesting)

AB3A (192265) | more than 5 years ago | (#27941995)

The hard part is getting him there exactly when we have the first few thunderstorms of the season. That's when most of the grease from the previous fall and winter gets scoured from the pipe walls.

Re:Just another day at the office for me... (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 5 years ago | (#27942191)

And Mike Rowe thinks HE does dirty jobs...

He did an episode maintaining the first stage of a sewage processing facility. It looked pretty bad. The recent show where he collects rotting maggot infested cow corpses into a truck and then processes them with a large industrial grinder into a pulpy brown protein liquid is worse.

Fortunately the liquid is turned into animal feed and does not directly enter the human food supply where it could be left in an office fridge to become something disgusting.

Re:Just another day at the office for me... (3, Funny)

smellsofbikes (890263) | more than 5 years ago | (#27942237)

>During large thunderstorms, the sewer pipes often see huge flows that scour all the grease that people dump down the drain (DON'T DUMP GREASE DOWN THE DRAIN!) in to large globs the size of beach balls. These tend to block flow at the waste-water stations and cause sewer backup

There's an easy solution to this problem: start dumping chips of plutonium down the all the drains. Whenever there's a stop-up, they'll collect in a mass and that'll fix the blockage.

You may observe that there are some collateral problems with dumping lots of plutonium down the drain. I have an answer for that, too: we train gorillas to go into the sewers and collect all the plutonium chips that haven't been used. Then once winter comes...

Two cleaning agents? Ammonia? Bleach? Probably. (1)

Ximok (650049) | more than 5 years ago | (#27941577)

This just makes me that much more afraid of the sandwich I found in my hotel room fridge this morning. I've been here two days and I didn't put it there.

I dunno, lots of rotting stuff can make ammonia... of course, if the cleaning chemicals used happened to be ammonia and bleach, the person shouldn't be allowed to clean ever again. Ammonia and bleach will combine to give off chlorine gas, which will make a person expel their breakfast, amongst other problems.

Outsourced (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27941583)

Some PHB must have outsourced the janitorial crew, but forgot the office in India.

Re:Outsourced (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27941957)

er, Some PHB must have outsourced the janitorial crew, but forgot the office ISN'T in India.

Hate when I blow a good joke...

true story from my brothers office (5, Funny)

InfoHighwayRoadkill (454730) | more than 5 years ago | (#27941645)

My brother used to work in an office that was (badly) converted from an old bakery about 10 years previously. There was the usual large store/junk room around the back where stuff was just piled up until they ran out of room. Eventually they had to clear it out. Right at the back of the room buried under a huge pile of stuff was quite a large chest freezer. It wasn't turned on but it was locked shut.

They tried to shift it but it was too heavy and obviously full. This should have rung a few alarm bells but no. They busted the lock open with a crow bar and opened it up. Projectile vomiting all round the moment the lid was opened. 3 people taken to hospital. It required a very specialised hazmat / cleaning team to sort it out in the long term as it turned out the freezer had been used to store raw meat for pies and pasties and that meat had been in there for about 11 years or so. Did I mention the room got very hot in the summer...

Re:true story from my brothers office (1)

Walkingshark (711886) | more than 5 years ago | (#27941939)

And the award for coolest anecdote of the month goes to...

If it were me, I'd have put that thing in a box and shipped it to Congress as a special gift. Everyone in congress simultaneously projectile vomiting? Nothing in the history of humanity would ever be funnier.

Re:true story from my brothers office (4, Insightful)

commodoresloat (172735) | more than 5 years ago | (#27942087)

Everyone in congress simultaneously projectile vomiting? Nothing in the history of humanity would ever be funnier.

I see this every day on CSPAN; the amusement wears off fast.

New Slashdot Meme: (4, Funny)

Qbertino (265505) | more than 5 years ago | (#27941657)

"Throwed up all over monitor."

Thanks.

Re:New Slashdot Meme: (1)

thebryce (1076543) | more than 5 years ago | (#27941925)

I don't know who tagged this story with the keyword "pussy", but I feel bad for the guy if the smell was THAT bad!

How does it even GET that bad? (1)

pluther (647209) | more than 5 years ago | (#27941661)

How the hell does the fridge even get that bad in the first place? That's not just a matter of not cleaning the thing for a week.

Is this an old forgotten fridge in a disused break room? If not, were people still putting their lunches in there? I wouldn't want to be eating a lunch that had been sitting in a big pile of mold all morning first.

I bet that had an increasing number of people calling in sick in the months leading up to this incident...

I can relate (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27941679)

I once was fined $145 for "creating an unattractive environment in public" when I spilled some rotten milk... Let that be a lesson to you young folk!

Looks like someone there conjured up (1)

davidsyes (765062) | more than 5 years ago | (#27941683)

GhostGeist or PolterBusters... Shoulda called RotorRooter...

Reminds me of 5th grade (2, Funny)

azav (469988) | more than 5 years ago | (#27941781)

I used to stock thermoses with rancid milk to clear out class at Catholic school. Just let them sit in the back of the class locker for 3 months and pop one when you need one less Religion class to deal with in your life.

Re:Reminds me of 5th grade (1)

onkelonkel (560274) | more than 5 years ago | (#27941901)

God will get you for that!.......Once He stops laughing.

Disgusting! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27941795)

I would throw up in the break room and make the piece of shit office manager pay for lunch that piece of shit

Rule #1 Do not open the fridge (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27941949)

My son has a business that cleans foreclosed homes. Their #1 rule is that you never open the fridge. During one clean-up the tape holding the door closed broke while loading a fridge into the trailer. The resulting smell had worker and onlookers vomiting in the street.

What no Dirk? (4, Interesting)

gmerideth (107286) | more than 5 years ago | (#27942021)

I figured I would have been a Dirk Gently comment in here at some point. Something about a lurking refrigerator springing forth a Guilt God...

Bad sign (1)

Jeian (409916) | more than 5 years ago | (#27942049)

Our departmental minifridge is slated for cleaning this evening.

God help us all.

Does Peggy Hill work there? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27942065)

I know! I'll combine the cleaning power of bleach and ammonia!

Honestly, people who spray chemicals while other people are in the office should be shot.

George Carlin is Smiling (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27942111)

George Carlin had a TV show for a while aptly named the George Carlin show. I believe it was on Fox. In one episode he decided that the "repeat" directions on shampoo ("Wash, Rinse, Repeat") was just a there get people to consume more shampoo. He scratches his head while trying to clean a stench out of his apartment and the mystery "X Virus" starts taking over New York City. The CDC tracks it back to his apartment and forces Carlin to repeat washing his hair.

I for one welcome out zombie comedian overlord.

As far as I'm concerned... (3, Funny)

cmowire (254489) | more than 5 years ago | (#27942193)

That's totally something for one's resume. It's a mark of distinction.

I can picture it now:

AT&T Research, San Jose (1999-2010)
  * Made things suck less
  * Shuffled papers
  * Almost got killed by rotten office fridge.

Don't buy used refridgerators (1)

Skraut (545247) | more than 5 years ago | (#27942261)

After the Cleveland Colleseum closed in the early 90's I went there for a sale to buy things out of it before they knocked it down. I was looking for a couple things, but specifically for a used fridge out of a loge that I could take back to college with me figuring they would be a perfect size, and at $5 how could you go wrong. Apparently they just simply cut the power after their last event without cleaning any of them out. This sale was about 2 months after that. After opening up 2 and nearly loosing my lunch, and passing a third where somebody had lost their lunch, I decided I wasn't buying a fridge.
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