More than a dozen rotting dead bodies were found dumped on the floor and inside unrefrigerated U-Haul trucks parked outside a funeral home in Brooklyn. The decomposing bodies were discovered after strong smell emanated in the neighbourhood from the parked trucks.
New York alone has seen the highest number of deaths in the US with nearly 18,000 people losing their lives due to the global pandemic coronavirus. It has registered more than 305,024 confirmed cases of the coronavirus.
Trucks were used for storing bodies of coronavirus victims
The ice-trucks holding over a dozen bodies were found parked outside the Andrew T Cleckley Funeral Home, located on Utica Avenue. The funeral home was using the trucks to store the dead bodies after it failed to manage the high influx of bodies inside. Senior police officials told the media that a neighbouring business owner called 311 after he spotted some liquid leaking from the back of the trucks. A strong stench was also coming from the trucks.
Quoting police sources, NY Post reported that apart from the two U-Haul trucks holding the dead bodies, the funeral home was also using two refrigerated trucks for storing the cadavers. A third truck was being used to store the empty caskets. According to CNBC, Hazmat suit-clad investigators reached the spot and began investigating. The police officials said that some dead bodies were also found lying on the floor inside the funeral home.
Sources told New York Post that the bodies were found thrown one upon other inside the trucks whose refrigeration system had broken down. The corpses were stored in the trucks after the funeral home's freezer broke down. "The bodies were supposed to be going to a crematorium, but they didn't come and pick them up," added the source.
Traumatizing for New Yorkers battling coronavirus
After inspecting the situation, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, said: "It appears the truck was full. They were trying to use U-Haul as a backup. This is going to traumatize this entire community, that you had a U-Haul and a trailer full of bodies on a popular roadway. This is a very traumatizing impact that is going to go far beyond coronavirus."
Stating that there was an urgent need to deal with the increasing bodies due to the coronavirus crisis, Adams said that the city needed to increase staff for a bereavement committee. "We need to bring in funeral directors, morgues, [medical examiners], clergies ... when you find bodies in trucks like this throughout our city, treating them in an undignified manner, that's unacceptable," he stated.
Speaking to the publication, John DiPietro, who owns a neighbouring property, said that for several weeks the bodies were being stored in the trucks. "You don't respect the dead that way. That could have been my father, my brother. You don't do that to the dead," he added.
Erin Silk, a Health Department spokeswoman, told the publication that alternate arrangements for the remains were being made by the funeral home. To manage the onslaught of the dead bodies, a lot of funeral homes were being forced to use the refrigerated trailers to store the bodies. Several others also converted chapels into temporary morgues chilled using high-powered air conditioners.