Cemetery GM: ‘No excuse’ for violations alleged at Carlisle crematory

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Cemetery GM: ‘No excuse’ for violations alleged at Carlisle crematory

The general manager of Woodside Cemetery and Arboretum in Middletown, which performs about 400 cremations a year, said there’s “no excuse” for the conditions a state inspector reported at a Carlisle crematory that led to its license being suspended.

On Monday, Premium Mortuary Services had its license revoked by the Ohio Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors after it found 15 violations, including failing to keep seven deceased human bodies, not yet embalmed, inside a working refrigerator. Premium can request a hearing and its license could be reinstated within seven to 14 days, said Jon Rittig, president of the state board.

Dan Diver, general manager of Woodside for the last 18 months after serving on its board for 25 years, said the state has “very clear guidelines” regarding the operation of a crematory and the goal is to “handle business very respectful.”

He said the state will perform surprise crematory inspections. In fact, Woodside was inspected recently and came through with “flying colors,” Diver said. He said Woodside’s crematory, built about 20 years ago, is open for funeral directors and families to inspect.

“We have to be respectful of the families we are serving,” he said. “That’s why we are here.”

Before Diver will perform a cremation, the funeral director must provide two documents: a burial transport permit that means the body can be moved; and a cremation permit that must be signed by a family member.

Most cremations are done the day Woodside receives the body, Diver said. Cremations typically take two to four hours, he said. Then, he said, the cremated remains are returned to the family. 

Woodside has a refrigerator in its crematory, but it’s rarely used, Diver said. He said there’s no reason to “warehouse” bodies like what allegedly was happening at Premium Mortuary.

When Diver heard about the accusations brought against the Carlisle crematory, he became “concerned” how his industry would be perceived by the public.

“When anything happens, even nationwide, it concerns me,” he said. “I don’t want to be painted with that same brush.”

Besides Woodside and Premium, Diver said there are only a few crematories in the region: funeral homes in Hamilton and Franklin and Bell Vault and Memorial in Miamisburg.

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