U-Haul banning Brooklyn funeral home after bodies found in trucks: report

1010 WINS Newsroom
May 01, 2020 - 9:03 am
U-Haul trucks outside of the funeral home

Spencer Platt/Getty Images

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NEW YORK (1010 WINS) – U-Haul reportedly said it will no longer do business with a Brooklyn funeral home that stored bodies in their trucks amid the coronavirus outbreak.

TMZ reports that the rental company severed ties with Andrew T. Cleckley Funeral Services in the Flatlands after reports this week that dozens of bodies were found in unrefrigerated U-Haul trucks outside the funeral home.

“This is a wrongful, egregious and inhumane use of our equipment,” U-Haul officials told TMZ.

“Our trucks are designed for household moves,” the company said. “Properly caring for the remains of people’s loved ones requires vehicles suited specifically for that purpose. Our trucks absolutely cannot be rented for this reason.”

U-Haul also said four trucks involved in the Brooklyn incident have been taken out of circulation so they can be deep-cleaned and disinfected at a repair shop.

Investigators who responded to a 911 call Wednesday found that the home had rented four trucks to hold about 50 corpses, a law enforcement official told the Associated Press.

U-Haul trucks outside of the funeral home
AP Photo/Craig Ruttle

No criminal charges were brought, the official told the AP; the funeral home was cited for failing to control the odors.

The home was able to obtain a larger, refrigerated truck later in the day, the official said.

New York City funeral homes have struggled in the city since late March. The city set up temporary morgues. Hospitals used refrigerated tractor trailers to cart away multiple bodies at a time, sometimes loading them in public view on the sidewalk. Crematoriums have been backed up. Funeral directors across the city have pleaded for help as they have run out of space.

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams said Wednesday he wanted a bereavement committee to assist overwhelmed funeral directors. The committee would bring together funeral directors, morgues, medical examiners and clergy to assure the deceased are treated in a dignified manner.

At his daily briefing Thursday, Mayor Bill de Blasio called the situation "absolutely unacceptable," and he said he supported Adams' proposal for a bereavement committee.

"They have an obligation to people they serve to treat them with dignity," de Blasio said. "I have no idea in the world how any funeral home could let this happen."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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