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 pavement. Crematoriums have been backed up. Funeral directors across the city have pleaded for help as they have run out of space.
The NYPD notified the state Department of Health, which oversees funeral homes, about the situation at the Andrew T. Cleckley Funeral Home.
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams went to the scene on Wednesday evening. He told the Daily News: “While this situation is under investigation, we should not have what we have right now, with trucks lining the streets filled with bodies.”
He said “it was people who walked by who saw some leakage and detected an odor coming from a truck.”
John DePietro, who owns the building next door to Mr Cleckley, said he saw five vehicles parked outside the funeral home on Tuesday.
“They had dead bodies in the vans and trucks,” Mr DePietro told the New York Times. “They were on top of each other in body bags.”
He added he could not “judge for sure” how many bodies were in the vehicles, “but all of them were packed.”