In a scene akin to a horror film, blood and embalming fluid seeped onto the ground behind a Baton Rouge funeral home Thursday.
The red liquid leaked onto the grass and curb behind the Greenoaks Funeral Home, 9595 Florida Blvd.
William Daniel, director of city-parish environmental services, confirmed the incident occurred, saying the leak came from a pipe in the funeral home's closed sewage system.
It stayed on private property and did not affect any public sewer or storm water systems, he said.
Workers from the environmental health department investigated and submitted a report to the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, he said.
The funeral home acknowledged in a statement that there was a "malfunction" in some of its equipment, though it would not confirm it was blood.
"As soon as we noticed it, we were able to immediately stop the leak, clean and disinfect the area," the statement said. "We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused visitors to our cemetery."
Greenoaks is owned by Dignity Memorial, a subsidiary of Service Corporation International, a company that has faced allegations of overcharging customers.
Jessica Koth, public relations manager for the National Funeral Director's Association, said such leaks are "very unusual" — it's the first one she's heard of in 11 years at the agency.
Koth said embalming fluids are generally not dangerous to the public, because the chemicals like formaldehyde "inactivate those germs and pathogens."
Daniel said the department of environmental services has been ramping up its program to permit restaurants to ensure they are not clogging the sewers with grease. He said since the incident, the department has increased the pace of its outreach to funeral homes in order to check and permit their sewage systems more quickly.
"We’ve moved them to the top, and we’re going to be reaching out to all of them to get a permit," he said.