Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
 / Updated 
By Andy Eckardt

MAINZ, Germany — Public health officials were stunned to find five dead bodies at an abandoned supermarket in Germany.

A local undertaker had received permission to use the building’s storage rooms to keep empty coffins and other equipment in the eastern city of Klosterfelde.

However, five corpses were discovered inside the caskets in a refrigerated area after a tip-off, local official Elisabeth Schulte-Kuhnt told NBC News on Wednesday.

Local newspaper MOZ reported Tuesday that public medical officer Heike Zander was "shocked when she saw what was being stored in a supermarket in the middle of town" during a visit last week.

But authorities could find little wrong with the undertaker’s methods.

The condition of the deceased and the temperature they were being stored at were "according to the rules" and therefore not in violation of Germany’s hygiene laws, county spokesman Oliver Koehler told NBC News. The undertaker also had the correct paperwork.

Officials are now looking into whether the correct request was filed with local planning officials to notify them that he was using the building for a different purpose.

The corpses were transported to a crematorium after being recovered on Thursday.