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Odors, flies draw investigators to Lyon Twp. crematorium

Mike Martindale
The Detroit News

New Hudson — Local, county and state investigators visited a Lyon Township crematorium Tuesday following complaints from a neighboring business about strong odors and a large number of flies at the facility.

State, county and local officials investigate a complaint at Great Lakes Cremation in Lyon Twp., Tuesday.

While 60 unrefrigerated bodies awaiting cremation were found at Great Lakes Cremation at the end of an industrial park on Costello Drive, no health violations were discovered, according to officials.

“We received a complaint late (Monday) from the Lyon Township Fire Department regarding strong odors and flies at the location,” said Leigh-Anne Stafford, Oakland County health officer. “As a possible health concern we followed up but there was no imminent health hazards or danger to the public.

“We did find some bodies inside the building being stored outside of refrigeration but there is no legal restriction for refrigeration.”

Company officials could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Lyon Township fire chief Ken Van Sparrentak referred questions to township supervisor John Dolan, who did not return a call Tuesday. The business was in operation Tuesday and the county health department appeared satisfied after an inspector's visit.

“The building was clean and a health inspector said there was some odor and flies but nothing more to report,” Stafford said. “It is licensed by the state and you would have to check with them on whether they found any license violations.”

The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs inspected the facility Tuesday, said spokesman Jason Moon.

"There is nothing in Michigan law that speaks to refrigerated storage," he added. "According to Michigan law, bodies in storage must see their final disposition within 60 days. This includes cremation."

Investigators responding to a complaint of odors and flies at Great Lakes Cremation found 60 unrefrigerated bodies but no violations.

Oakland County Undersheriff Michael McCabe, said his deputies were advised by a LARA investigator who visited the facility that there were no licensing violations.

McCabe said sheriff's deputies went to the crematorium and were told the oldest of the bodies discovered Tuesday outside a cooler area had been there since July 5. Investigators were told the facility was down two workers but had been in operation every day.

“It appears they were in compliance (with state law) and there were no violations of law,” McCabe said.

mmartindale@detroitnews.com

(248) 338-0319