New York City funeral home was storing bodies on ice in U-Haul trucks

The Brooklyn funeral home had stored 50 bodies in four trucks in recent days, officials said.
Image:
Workers move a body near Andrew T. Cleckley Funeral Services in Brooklyn, N.Y., on Wednesday. Craig Ruttle / AP

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By Jonathan Dienst and Tim Stelloh

A New York City funeral home used moving trucks loaded with ice to store dozens of bodies after running out of space, police officials said Wednesday.

The New York City Health Department issued two citations to the owner of the Brooklyn facility, Andrew T. Cleckley Funeral Services, but he was not criminally charged, two senior New York Police Department officials told NBC News.

The grim scene occurred as the city's death toll from the coronavirus pandemic continues to grow. Officials have attributed more than 17,000 probable and confirmed deaths to COVID-19, the disease associated with the virus, according to data collected by the city.

The illness has killed 60,000 people across the United States, according to an NBC News tally.

The officials said 50 bodies had been stored in four trucks, including rentals from U-Haul, outside the funeral home in recent days. The owner told officials that he had been trying to do his best with an overflow of bodies, a problem they said was happening citywide.

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A neighbor called authorities after seeing liquid leaking out of the back of the trucks, the officials said, adding that the bodies were moved into a refrigerated truck Wednesday.

Efforts to reach the funeral home's owner Wednesday were unsuccessful.