NYC Sanitation supervisor digs deep to find family photographs accidentally discarded

THROGGS NECK, The Bronx (WABC) -- Patricia Turco has every photo seared into her brain and memorized - 125 years of family history contained into five albums.

Turco kept the albums at her apartment in the Throggs Neck section of the Bronx. After the apartment was damaged by Hurricane Ida, she moved to her niece's place. On Saturday, her niece's stepson accidentally tossed them in the trash. There were no copies, backups, or hard drives of the photos.

"I was angry, extremely upset, hysterical crying. And the first thing I did was call up the Department of Sanitation, and the Department of Sanitation could not have been more nice," said Turco.

Sanitation tracked the truck down in 10 minutes and locked it down. Her friend, Johnny Rodriguez and Sanitation Supervisor Edward Clavelo dug into the garbage.

"I mean, it was a disgusting moment, you know what I'm saying? You're smelling all that nasty bacteria and all that, but at least she accomplished what she wanted to accomplish. She left with a smile," said Rodriguez.

"The department has pretty good success ratio - mine is about 60, 70 percent," said Clavelo, "If it's in that truck and we go through every bag, we'll find it."

Clavelo says the longest he has gone through the garbage to retrieve priceless items - three hours.

Turco's albums were found in 15 minutes.

Fifteen minutes in a stinking heap of trash - for more than a century of family history.

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