AGENCIES, New York: A New York City funeral home is being investigated by state officials after people complained that it had stored bodies on ice in rented trucks.
Local authorities said that residents in the area had complained about foul smells near the funeral home and when investigated the funeral home said it was overwhelmed by coronavirus death cases and had no option but to rent four refrigerated trucks to accommodate about 50 corpses.
The funeral home in Brooklyn could face civil fines and suspensions, health commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said on Thursday.
The owner of the funeral home, Andrew T. Cleckley, told The New York Times on Wednesday that he needed to use the trucks for overflow storage after he had filled his chapel with more than 100 corpses. “I ran out of space,” he said. “Bodies are coming out of our ears.”
Many people working at the funeral homes have expressed “concerns regarding storage,” but none as extreme as those reported at the Brooklyn funeral home.
Health officials have issued guidance to all the funeral homes that we will not tolerate any of that kind of behaviour,” Zucker said at the daily coronavirus briefing by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
New York City funeral homes have struggled since March as the number of fatalities linked to coronavirus has crossed 18,000.