PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – On the campus of Washington Hospital is a brand new forensics facility.

“There are times that I may have four or five of what I refer to as records and identification — the forensic units from the various police departments — if we have obviously a homicide. We have a lot of people involved. Now we have room and space to perform our duties,” said Washington County Coroner S. Timothy Warco.

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The facility was designed and built through a joint effort between Washington Health System and Washington County.

“The coroner’s office, the county commissioners, the hospital all worked together on the design and the construction and the funding of this facility. And there is on-going cooperation and really there is a savings to the taxpayer,” said Washington Hospital CEO & President Gary Weinstein.

What was once the printing room at the hospital has been transformed into a user-friendly atmosphere for the collection of evidence during suspicious death investigations. Because the room is so big, it’s conducive to teaching.

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“I generally have two or three students from the various institutions of nursing and or medical fields that observe post-mortem examinations, and this is more conducive for teaching,” said Warco.

The state-of-the-art autopsy station and large walk-in refrigeration unit are utilized by the Washington County Coroner’s Office and the Washington Hospital.

“We might have a criminal investigation, forensic investigation going and at the same time we had normal traffic if someone had died in the hospital, a funeral director coming to take the body — all happening in the same space. Now we’ve got enough space that we’ve got it divided,” said Warco.

Providing a level of privacy for families of the deceased that was not possible before.

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