Dozens of bodies were discovered stacked in unrefrigerated trucks outside a funeral home in Brooklyn Wednesday after police responded to 911 complaints from neighbors who had been complaining for weeks about the smell.
NYPD found two unrefrigerated U-Haul box trucks being used to store up to 100 bodies outside of Andrew T. Cleckley Funeral Home in the Flatlands.
There were as many as 50 corpses being stored in each truck, according to ABC News, as the facility struggled to keep up with the overwhelming surge of bodies due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Locals filmed the bodies being dragged into the trucks in recent days and complained to police about the conditions they were being kept in. Police found them covered in body bags, not placed in caskets, and in various stages of decomposition.
The owner told city officials that its freezer had stopped working and they were forced to use the trucks as storage while bodies awaited burial or cremation.
Workers move bodies to a refrigerated truck from the Andrew T. Cleckley Funeral Home in the Brooklyn Wednesday after authorities found that the facility was storing up to 100 bodies in two unrefrigerated U-Haul storage vans
Pictured here workers secure a van full of bodies of deceased people during the outbreak of coronavirus disease at the Andrew Cleckley Funeral Home in the Brooklyn. The owner of the own said that its freezer broke and overwhelmed with the surge of bodies caused by the coronavirus outbreak, they used these vans as storage for weeks
After neighbors complained for weeks about the smell coming from U-Haul vans being used to store bodies at the funeral home, the NYPD investigated Wednesday and discovered 100 bodies in various stages of decomposition
Police responded to a report of human bodies in vehicles in Brooklyn on Wednesday which they determined were connected to the nearby funeral home. They discovered 100 decomposing bodies in two U-Haul truck. A freezer truck was broight in by officials who helped workers in transferring the corpses which had been wrapped in body bags
No criminal charges were brought but the home was cited for failing to control the odors.
The facility was able to obtain a larger, refrigerated truck later in the day, the official said, and workers suited up in protective gear could be seen in the afternoon transferring bodies.
Outside the building, authorities found two U-Haul box trucks, an unmarked 30-foot box truck, and an unmoored tractor trailer.
While the unmarked vehicles holding bodies were refrigerated, the U-Haul trucks were also being used to hold bodies.
Neighbors took these videos of the bodies being unceremoniously thrown in body bags and stacked into the back of the trucks in recent days. They had complained for weeks about the smell coming from the trucks
The bodies were packed in body bags inside the U-Haul trucks for weeks as they awaited cremation or burial. Neighbors had made complaints to the authorities after they filmed the decomposing corpses being stacked into the trucks
NYPD officers secure trucks full of bodies in Brooklyn on Wednesday. Officers made the gruesome discovery of as many as 100 bodies stored in two U-Haul vans outside of the Andrew Cleckley Funeral Home
It is reported that as many as 100 bodies were being kept in unrefrigerated storage trucks outside the funeral home
Andrew T. Cleckley Funeral Home in Brooklyn received complaints after neighbors said they could ‘smell the death’ coming from trucks parked outside the home being used to store bodies. The home has been cited for the smell
‘I saw 15 bodies in the U-Haul box truck stacked up on one another, and more in the other,’ one officer told the New York Daily News.
‘They stored them right out on the street.’
A member of staff told ABC that there were a further 30 to 40 bodies inside and some were being kept on the floor.
‘This funeral home is over-capacitated with human remains and that is true,’ said Dr. David Penepent, a funeral director who teaches at SUNY Canton and was brought in by the state to help.
‘He got overwhelmed with the number of remains that he had and he didn’t know what to do and I’m here to assist him in this operation.’
John DiPietro, who owns the neighboring property, told the New York Post that cadavers had been mounting up at the funeral home for weeks.
‘You don’t respect the dead that way. That could have been my father, my brother,’ said DiPietro.
According to the Post, the funeral home told police officers that the bodies were due to go to the crematorium, but nobody had come to collect them.
In contrast, ABC News reports that the funeral homeowner told city officials that their freezer was broken.
Funeral homes across New York City have been overwhelmed in recent weeks as the daily death toll in the city reached dramatic heights during the coronavirus pandemic.
Aerial footage showed the bodies being taken from the U-Haul vehicles and transferred to a refrigerated truck
Police cordoned off the area around the funeral home and the trucks on Wednesday night as the complaints about piles of bodies was investigated. A police officer said he saw at least 15 bodies stored in one of the trucks
The funeral home workers were pictured coming in and out of the building wearing protective gear on Wednesday night
The smell from the bodies being stored in the trucks was reaching the surrounding buildings pictured here. The owner told officials that the freezer in the home broke. The city brought in a freezer truck Wednesday to store the bodies
The homes are required to store bodies awaiting burial or cremation in appropriate conditions that prevent infection.
The city was forced to obtain freezer trucks this month to temporarily hold bodies as funeral homes reached capacity and no space remained to store bodies properly
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams said Wednesday night that he was going to the Flatlands to investigate the complaint as he called for an urgent reform of the city’s burial process.
‘This is exactly what I spoke about over the weekend regarding the urgent need for reform in the handling of bodies and burial processes,’ Adams tweeted.
‘We demand decent treatment of our deceased.
‘While this situation is under investigation, we should not have what we have right now, with trucks lining the streets filled with bodies.
‘It was people who walked by who saw some leakage and detected an odor coming from a truck.’
Outside the building, authorities found two U-Haul box trucks, a U-Haul van, an unmarked 30-foot box truck, and an unmoored tractor trailer. The unmarked vehicles holding bodies were refrigerated but the U-Haul trucks were not
Police wore face masks as they guarded the morbid scene. Officers are believed to have found up to 100 bodies in the trucks
Funeral homes across New York City have been overwhelmed in recent week the daily death toll in the city reached dramatic heights during the coronavirus pandemic. On Wednesday, the extent of the strain was revealed when police officers pictured here were called to a funeral home in Brooklyn over complaints that bodies were stored in unrefrigerated trucks
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams traveled to the scene as he called for reform in the city’s burial process
Local residents told New York Daily News of the increasingly foul smell coming from the funeral home and that trucks were seen for weeks constantly unloading bodies.
‘I’ve seen bodies stacked up on top of one another inside the trucks with both doors open,’ said Abdul Kamara, 40.
‘They’ve been storing bodies in the trucks. It’s been going on since the beginning of COVID. These people have passed. This is not the way they should be treated on the way out.’
‘For weeks already, there have been trucks constantly outside unloading bodies. You could smell the death,’ added Jay Fredo, 57.
‘Some of them have been dropped. I know it’s a pandemic, but this is crazy. It’s sick.’
The Andrew T. Cleckley Funeral Home on Utica Ave. and Ave. M in the Flatlands has been cited for not controlling the smell of dead bodies after they used unrefrigerated rental U-Haul trucks as storage for weeks after their freezer broke
The NYPD and several state and city agencies including the state Department of Health visited the Andrew T. Cleckley Funeral Home in Brooklyn on Wednesday evening after complaints were filed that the facility was using rented trucks to store bodies
Workers from the Andrew T. Cleckley Funeral Home on Utica Ave. and Ave. M in Flatlands, Brooklyn, are pictured here in protective gear after the NYPD visited in relation to complaints in the way they were storing bodies
The New York Times reports that the state Department of Health, which regulates funeral homes, was called to the scene to determine whether the home was handling human remains appropriately.
The home was cited for failing to control the odors.
Cleckley is not a member of the New York Funeral Directors Association, the organization said.
Wednesday’s terrible discovery came after city officials declared last week that they would freeze bodies temporarily rather than burying them on Hart Island.
The city says that freezer trucks will be used that can keep human remains frozen for up to a year.
Adams has said that he wishes to form a bereavement committee from next Monday to help the city deal with the impact of the coronavirus outbreak and the large number of deaths it has experienced in the past few weeks.
‘This community is going to be traumatized by this long after COVID-19,’ the borough president said.
‘It’s gonna take coordination between funeral directors, cemeteries and the city to address this situation.’
New York City’s death toll reached 12,287 on Wednesday with at least 159,865 cases.
Nearly half of all New Yorkers say they know somebody who has died of coronavirus, a new poll finds, shedding a stunning light on just how deeply the pandemic has hit the Big Apple.
The state-wide survey, carried out by Siena College and released this week, discovered that 46 percent of New York City residents personally knew someone killed by COVID-19, as do 36 percent of respondents living in the suburbs, and 13 percent of those living upstate.
The deadly virus has had a particularly large impact on New York’s minority communities, with 52 percent of Latino voters and 48 percent of black voters confirming they know someone who has died, compared to just 25 percent of white respondents.
In total, around one in three people across New York State know a fatality of the outbreak.