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100 bodies found decomposing in rental trucks outside New York funeral home

The state health department is investigating.
Credit: AP
New York City police officers stand by at the Andrew T. Cleckley Funeral Home in the Brooklyn borough of New York, Wednesday, April 29, 2020. Police responded to a report of human bodies in vehicles, which they determined were connected to the nearby funeral home. The New York Police Department notified the state Department of Health, which oversees funeral homes. The coronavirus pandemic has overrun most funeral homes and morgues in New York City. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

BROOKLYN, N.Y. — Editor's warning: This story contains pictures of body bags that may be disturbing for some readers.

New York is ground zero for the coronavirus pandemic. More than 14,000 people have died in the five boroughs alone, according to the New York Times – nearly five times more than the number of people killed in the 9/11 terror attacks.

The city has even started digging new mass graves on the infamous Hart Island, where unclaimed corpses have been buried for more than a century.

RELATED: Prisoners are digging mass graves in New York City as pandemic deaths mount

But, the overwhelmed system for handling what happens after death turned into a disturbing public scene on Wednesday when 100 decomposing bodies were found in unrefrigerated U-Haul trucks outside a Brooklyn funeral home.

Credit: AP
Workers move a body near the Andrew T. Cleckley Funeral Home in the Brooklyn borough of New York, Wednesday, April 29, 2020. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

ABC7 reports the city found out about it when people who live nearby started complaining about the smell.

In response, freezer trucks were sent out to temporarily store the bodies until final arrangements are made.

The funeral home’s owner said his freezer stopped working, according to ABC7, but the state health department is investigating the situation to see if human remains where handled improperly.

"This funeral home is over-capacitated with human remains and that is true," funeral director Dr. David Penepent told ABC7. He was reportedly brought in by the state to help.

"He got overwhelmed with the number of remains that he had and he didn't know what to do and I'm here to assist him in this operation," Penepent said.

The New York Times reports it’s not clear whether all the bodies belonged to people who died from COVID-19.

Credit: AP
Workers move bodies to a refrigerated truck from the Andrew T. Cleckley Funeral Home in the Brooklyn borough of New York, Wednesday, April 29, 2020. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

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