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Funeral Home Shut Down After Maggots, Other Violations Found

Terray Sylvester/The Flint Journal-MLive.com via AP

A funeral home has been shut down after inspections found maggots on the floor of a garage where unrefrigerated bodies were being stored, according to the state.

The mortuary science licenses of the Swanson Funeral Home in Flint and manager O’Neil Swanson II are suspended, Michigan’s Licensing and Regulatory Affairs department said Wednesday.

Numerous complaints led to investigations that determined the funeral home smelled of decomposing bodies and the garage where bodies were stored was not air-conditioned. Some of the bodies were in the garage up to five months, the state said.

“Michigan residents trust funeral home directors, owners, and their establishments to follow the law especially when dealing with the death of a loved one,” said Julia Dale, director of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs corporations, securities & commercial licensing bureau.

The Associated Press left a phone message and email Wednesday seeking comment from the funeral home.

Swanson Funeral Home operates prominent facilities in Detroit. A woman who answered the phone Wednesday at one of the Detroit facilities said they were not affiliated with the Flint funeral home.

The license for the Flint facility is held by Swanson’s Funeral Home, Inc., which is an assumed name of Swanson Group (Flint), Inc., and a separate legal entity and license from any facility in Detroit, said Jason Moon, spokesman for the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.

The Flint funeral home could be subject to fines by the state.

A formal complaint filed this week by the state Attorney General’s office includes:

— An unannounced inspection in May found five bodies in cardboard cremation containers that had been at the funeral home for more than 72 hours. One of the bodies had been there close to a month. Only one was embalmed.

— A September 2016 inspection found the preparation room was “unsanitary” and “the hand wash sink contained what appeared to be dried blood, hair and pieces of tissue.” Ten bodies also were being stored in cardboard cremation containers in the garage for more than 72 hours. Only one of the bodies had been embalmed. One of the bodies that had not been embalmed was in the garage for about six weeks.

— Remains of two unrefrigerated bodies were found in October 2015 in the funeral home’s garage. The remains were in cardboard cremation containers, stacked atop one another against a back wall. The bodies were of people who had died in 2014.

— A May 2, 2012 complaint to the Michigan Occupational Health and Safety Administration alleged that employees at the funeral home worked without protective gear and were exposed to bodily fluids of the deceased.

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