US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — According to law enforcement, neighbors complained of the stench from the trucks parked near the morgue – where the freezer allegedly broke. The signal came on Wednesday after 11am: a pair of trucks parked near Andrew Cleckley’s funeral home on Utica Avenue in Brooklyn emanated a terrible stench.
Arriving police made a terrible discovery. Inside the car — a truck with a trailer and a rented van from the U-Haul company — there were several dozen decaying bodies in bags. How many of them died from coronavirus have not yet been established, authorities say.
In recent weeks, the city system of funeral services – morgues, cemeteries and crematoriums – operates at increased speeds. The outbreak of coronavirus has become for New York the most powerful shock since the time of the “Spanish woman” – the Spanish flu that raged about a century ago. Covid-19 claimed more than 14 thousand lives.
The funeral home was the hardest: they could not cope with the flow of bodies from hospitals and nursing homes and did not have time to cremate or bury them. Some funeral homes rent refrigerators, while others turned the chapels into temporary morgues, using powerful air conditioners to cool the rooms.
The fact that the dead New Yorkers are decaying in broad daylight in rented trucks on Brooklyn’s crowded street only underscores the scale of the problem. The coronavirus pandemic has claimed five times more lives than the September 11 attacks. One official, who asked not to be named because he was not authorized to speak about it, said that the funeral home was storing bodies in trucks due to malfunctioning of the freezer.
Before burial or cremation of the body must be stored in appropriate conditions to avoid infection.
The head of the Brooklyn area, Eric Adams, arrived at Cleckley’s funeral home around 5:15 pm on Wednesday, when police had already cordoned off the street as a crime scene and inspected the cars and basement of the building. “It looks like the truck was full,” Adams said. – He worked for them as a reserve warehouse. For relatives of the deceased, this is a serious blow.”
Representatives of the State Department of Health, which is in charge of the funeral homes, also visited the scene – to verify compliance with proper procedures. According to an informed law enforcement officer, two summonses were issued.
Contact with Mr. Cleckley failed. The representative of the funeral home hung up, and the reporter did not have time to ask a single question.
According to Loopcayman.com, Mr. Cleckley opened his business in 2015 with his wife Alva Stewart. Initially, he served other funeral homes, delivering bodies from the place of death. However, in 2017, the decision was made “to retrain into a full-fledged bureau of funeral services, including funerals, cremation and international transportation,” the article says.
Cleckley is listed as a licensed partner on the State Department of Health website. But the most recent certificate issued by the Office of City Buildings at the company’s business address does not mention funeral services. According to the paper, the first floor of the Utica Avenue 2037A building is used for “retail automotive products” and “equipment manufacturing.”
Mr. Kleckley is not a member of the New York Association of Funeral Directors, said its president Mike Lanotte.
According to the representative of the Department of Health Erin Silk (Erin Silk), the funeral home is taking additional measures to dispose of the remains. Where exactly they come from is not established.
The owner of the neighboring building, John DePietro, said that five cars were parked near the funeral home on Tuesday.
“There were corpses in the wagons and trucks,” Mr. Depietro said. “They were stacked in bags with zippers.” He could not accurately estimate their quantity, but added that they were all packed.
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