Lucky duct: $5K in cash from 1970s found by Winnipeg duct cleaners

Owner of The Duct Stories, Earl Masanque, says his team usually finds dust and rats inside air ducts but on January 24th, they found dozens of bills minted in the 1980s. Joanne Roberts has the story.

Rats, bullets, a lot of dust, and “all sorts of unpleasant things” – that’s what Earl Masanque and his Winnipeg duct-cleaning team are used to finding on the job.

So when an employee came across $5,000 in cash, minted in the 1970s, it instantly became the “craziest thing” they had ever come across and a “very cool” find.

It happened Jan. 24 at a home in the William Whyte neighbourhood.

Earl Masanque, owner of The Duct Stories, says his team found $5,000 in old cash in a duct. (Joanne Roberts, CityNews)

“One of our technicians, Arthur, he was opening up a return vent and then he found that Quik can,” said Masanque, the 23-year-old owner of The Duct Stories. “Apparently it hasn’t been around for a long time. We were just gonna throw it out but then the owner wanted to see what was inside. We opened it up and it was a ton of cash stuffed in the can.

“Actually when we first saw it, we just saw a bunch of ones. So we didn’t think it was that much until we started pulling everything out and then there was like, 20s, 50s, 100s and we just kind of freaked out from there.”

The $5,000 in cash found by Winnipeg duct-cleaning company The Duct Stories. (Submitted by: Earl Masanque)
Earl Masanque and The Duct Stories workers show off cash found in Winnipeg air duct. (Submitted by: Earl Masanque)

The money was left with the owner of the home.

Masanque, who called it an exciting day for his team, shared the find on social media. He took the opportunity to urge Winnipeg homeowners to consider adding air duct cleaning to their list of upkeep.

“A lot of the homeowners, they don’t really pay attention to their vents,” he said. “But that is the air you’re breathing in your home. It is extremely, extremely important to get it cleaned and get it sanitized. The service is only every two to five years, so it’s not a yearly thing.”

WATCH: Earl Masanque shares the company’s “craziest” find on social media

‘Proud’ Filipino-owned business

The Duct Stories offers duct, dryer vent and HVAC system for residential, commercial and industrial properties. Masanque describes it as a “loud and proud” Filipino-owned business that has been operating for the last three years.

Masanque began as an HVAC apprentice and then started his business part time. He credits the Filipino community in Winnipeg and their support as the reason he’s been able to transition to this full time.

“Most of our clients are Filipinos, so yeah that’s a pretty cool thing about our business,” he said. “It just shows how supportive the Filipino community is.”

The company estimates it’s serviced 3,500 homes over the last years. And while exciting finds may not be a daily occurrence, Masanque is eager to find out what they may find hidden next in Winnipeg’s air ducts.

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