DETROIT (WWJ) – A funeral home operator in Detroit says they may share the name, but that’s as far as the similarity goes with the funeral home in Flint that was shut down by state regulators for unsanitary conditions and other violations, such as unrefrigerated bodies left in a garage for months.

Swanson Funeral Home, with two locations in Detroit and one in Pontiac, wants it known they have no affiliation with Swanson’s Funeral Home in Flint now under state scrutiny.

O’Neil Swanson, president of the funeral homes, says there is no legal or business connection with the Flint funeral home operated by his son, O’Neil D, Swanson II.

“The allegations the state has made against the Flint home are shocking and go against every principle of mortuary science,” Swanson said in a statement. “We have served the community for 59 years and have established an unchallenged record of providing experienced, compassionate service. I want to make it clear to all that the steps taken by the state against the Flint business do not impact us in any way.”

Regulators shut down the Flint business due to multiple violations — including the presence of maggots, human blood, and rotting corpses stored without refrigeration. The 36-page formal complaint adds that bodies were not cremated even though families paid for such services.

The alleged violations include:

  • Maggots on the floor of the facility’s garage and garage door.
  • Unrefrigerated human bodies were stored in the un-air-conditioned garage, some for more than 90 days and up to five months.
  • The building smelled of decomposing bodies.
  • Unsanitary preparation room without equipment or supplies necessary for embalming.
  • Blood and fluid stained casket pillows were laying in the hallway.
  • A failure to register as a “producing facility” and submit a Medical Waste Management Plan, under the Medical Waste Regulatory Act.
  • Repeated violations of standards and laws enforced by the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration affecting the handling, custody, care, or transportation of a dead human body.
  • A failure to register to sell prepaid contracts or maintain a contract with a registrant under the Prepaid Act.

(More disturbing details were revealed in an affidavit).

Julia Dale, with the Michigan Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, says they ordered a cease and desist against the funeral home and suspended the license of both the home and its manager, Swanson II.

“It is significant, in our eyes, that Michigan residents be able to trust their providers and to trust the establishment that they are following the law, especially when it comes to the death of a loved one — this is a very traumatic time for individuals,” Dale said. “And we are going to aggressively hold these facilities and these individuals responsible.”

Swanson II could be fined up to $10,000 dollars for each violation.

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