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Bodies rot faster as fridge breaks down
A malfunctioning refrigerator at the Forensic Science Centre has forced the temporary relocation of an undisclosed number of unidentified bodies, some of them decomposing. A media release issued by the director of corporate communications at the Ministry of Justice, Alicia Carter-Fisher, said the malfunction took place on Monday, when staff complained of a stench in the building. The T&T Guardian was informed that the cost to store a body at a funeral home was at least $400 per body per night.
Pathologist Dr Valery Alexandrov told the T&T Guardian in a telephone interview yesterday that the temperature of the refrigerator, which was normally four degrees Celsius, reached 16 degrees on Monday. He added that the problem was that the equipment was installed when the Forensic Science Centre was built in 1983. He said the air duct in the old, abandoned autopsy room where the old refrigerator is located is connected to the main building and whenever the fridge malfunctioned the smell would seep into the main building.
He added that the bodies kept at the Forensic Science Centre are usually unidentified. Some are brought in decomposing and some remain there because families can’t afford to bury them. He suggested that two industrial fans should be installed in the old wing of the Forensic Science Centre where the problem occurs to blow the air away from the main building if the fridge broke down again. He also suggested that decomposing bodies should be stored in boxes to prevent seepage.