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Atascadero sidewalk stained with trail of blood — here’s why the city isn’t cleaning it up

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The crews at Modesto Fire Station No. 5 responded to 4,200 calls last year. Whether it be a fire engine, a police officer or an ambulance, if its lights and sirens are on, here are the basics for yielding to emergency vehicles.

Pedestrians walking down a stretch of El Camino Real in Atascadero this week have been complaining to the city about a trail of dark red blood stains on the sidewalk.

The stains came from an injured person who bled Saturday onto the sidewalk between Taco Bell and Smart and Final, said Terrie Banish, deputy city manager, in an email.

The Atascadero Fire Department responded and treated the person, and there was no indication the individual was attacked or was the victim of foul play, Banish said.

Fire Department personnel cleaned up the wet blood, and city Public Works staff followed up with a bleach spray to neutralize health hazards, she said.

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Blood stains from an injured person remain on an Atascadero sidewalk along El Camino Real. Bob Schrempp Facebook

Even so, photos shared on social media show dark red splotches, drips and footprints along more than a half-mile of the sidewalk as recently as Thursday. A post on the North SLO County Incidents and News Facebook page generated 300 coments.

This resulted in concerned residents contacting city staff, Banish said.

When asked if the city would consider removing the blood stains, Banish said the city must prioritize issues impacting the city.

“There are over 130 centerline miles of roadway in the city,” Banish wrote. “Any number of things may dirty sidewalks along these roadways, including human and animal bodily fluids, which the city does not clean.”

The property owner closest to the sidewalk maintains that pavement, and the city already made sure the hazardous materials had been cleaned up, she said.

“Nature will take care of any remaining stains in a relatively quick manner,” Banish wrote. “The sun will bleach them out of the pavement in no time.”

Anyone with questions about the stains is encouraged to call the city at 805-470-3400.

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Lindsey Holden writes about housing and everything in between for The Tribune in San Luis Obispo. She also covers communities in northern San Luis Obispo County. Lindsey became a staff writer in 2016 after working for the Rockford Register Star in Illinois. She’s a native Californian raised in the Midwest and is a proud graduate of two Chicago schools: DePaul University and Northwestern University.
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