‘Blood coming’ from one of the trucks
Up to 100 bodies of coronavirus victims were reportedly found piled up in U-Haul trucks parked at a New York funeral home after neighbours complained of a "smell of death".
The New York Police Department (NYPD) was called to the Andrew T Cleckley funeral home in Brooklyn Wednesday, where they blocked off the entire street after receiving a slew of 911 calls about decomposing bodies.
The discovery comes as NYC's mortuaries, cemeteries, crematories and city-run morgues struggle to cope with the mounting COVID-19 victims.
Police sources reportedly told ABC News both trailers outside the funeral home each contained 50 bodies.
Neighbours alleged the bodies were stacked one on top of the other inside the trucks - which were seen parked outside the funeral home - and reports indicate they had been rotting there for over seven days.
Officers from the 63rd Precinct arrived on the scene at Utica Avenue yesterday upon receiving calls about "blood coming from one of the trucks," according to AM NY.
Jay Fredo, 57, told the New York Daily News that workers have been "constantly outside unloading bodies" for weeks.
"You could smell the death," he said.
"Some of them have been dropped. I know it's a pandemic, but this is crazy. It's sick."
Louie dePasquale saw funeral home workers unloading the bodies before they were stopped by the police yesterday and explained that police were called because "blood was leaking onto the ground.
"It's disgusting, inhumane the way they are treating bodies - like pieces of meat, just throwing them out," the local mechanic told AMNY.
"They just have everything out, bodies were exposed, people's family were in there - just no respect, no remorse."
Police said it appeared the bodies were not refrigerated - but that allegation is still under investigation
Hazmat and Department of Health investigators were on the scene trying to determine if a nursing home had properly stored the bodies in compliance with state guidelines.
A spokesperson from the New York State Health Department said they'd been notified of the "storage issues."
She asserted that "funeral directors are required to store decadents awaiting burial or other final disposition in appropriate conditions and to follow their routine infection prevention and control precautions."
The New York Times had reported the funeral home began using trucks for storage when its freezer malfunctioned.
The funeral director told Eyewitness News they had run out of space inside for bodies - though he declined to say how many are inside.
He insisted no bodies were being kept in U-Haul trucks outside, adding they were filled with furniture.
He said all bodies were either inside a refrigerated truck or the morgue.
Pictures, however, appeared to show workers securing vans full of body bags in U-Haul trucks and moving them into refrigerated containers.
The investigation is ongoing.
Undertakers have been overwhelmed across the US, where there have been more than 60,000 deaths - with hospitals also resorting to using refrigerated trucks to store the dead.
The reports come after it was revealed some 10,000 unclaimed bodies will be buried this year on New York's so-called Island of the Dead.
It is ten times the usual number taken to Hart Island - the grim front line in America's war against coronavirus.
"I've never seen anything like this," said Melinda Hunt, president of The Hart Island Project, which catalogues each known victim buried there. "It's a massacre."
Bodies not claimed by a private funeral director within 15 days are eligible to be buried on the island.
America's death tally from the coronavirus will soon be deadlier than any flu season since 1967, as an average of 2,000 people died a day in April.
The country's worst flu season in recent memory was in 2017 to 2018 season, when more than 61,000 people died, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
A name or "unknown", along with a grave number, is written in permanent marker on coffin lids as the pandemic continues to kill thousands of Americans.
This article originally appeared in The US Sun and was republished with permission.
Originally published as 'Blood coming' from one of the trucks