Local mausoleum falling short; family wants answers

Updated: Sep. 16, 2020 at 5:15 PM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - A Huntsville family is demanding answers after a mausoleum where they buried their loved ones is falling apart.

The ceiling of the mausoleum is covered in cracks where water is seeping in. Visitors can also see and smell mold throughout the building.

The ashes of Chris Huys grandparents are inside the mausoleum at the Hampton Cove Funeral Home. His mother also spent more than $5,000 on a crypt, so her family knows her wishes when she dies.

But after the last few months, the family is horrified to see the deterioration inside the facility. They want repairs to be made, or they plan to take it to court.

Chris Huys only lives a few miles away from the Hampton Cove Funeral Home. He drives by every day and often stops in to pay his respects to his late grandparents.

“It is not a very pleasant place to be,” said Huys. “When the time comes for my mom, she can be there. But if it continues the way it is, I don’t know if I can do that.”

He said recently things have taken a turn for the worse.

“A very musty moldy smell. I noticed a couple cans of Febreze laying around. There is a wall plug in to try and cover up the smell. What I believe, well what I hope is an unused crypt is cracked. We have discussed maybe moving my grandparent’s ashes. I noticed when I was in there, other families have possibly removed ashes of other family members.” said Huys.

Huys went to Funeral Director Don Bradford for answers, but he was told because of the virus, the funeral home was having difficulty securing workers to help repair the facility.

“I told him I didn’t really believe that, just knowing other businesses around here doing ongoing construction.” added Huys.

Huys provided Bradford with a list of locally owned businesses willing to pitch in but didn’t get the response he was looking for. So, Huys reached out to the Alabama Board of Funeral Services for guidance.

He was stunned to learn there is no governing body neither statewide or locally that inspects privately owned and operated mausoleums.

“They sent me to the county health department, they sent me to county inspections. Then I found there was a county board set up for maintenance and all but it is really for abandoned cemeteries.” said Huys.

He finally started getting some answers when 48 News told him to contact The State Department of Insurance. The Department’s goal is to make sure any funeral homes or cemeteries that sell preneed services deliver on their promise. A team there told him to fill out a request. He’s still waiting to learn what is next.

Huys doesn’t believe he is asking for too much from Hampton Cove, just a clean and well-kept facility to honor his family.

“It just seems very disrespectful for those who have passed and those who are planning to be there. To let this become as dilapidated that it has.”

A spokesperson for the funeral home said they are waiting for a proposal to fix the roof, and as soon as the roof is fixed, a crew will begin repairs inside.

The spokesperson also said a crew checked inside the crypts to see if any water was getting into them. According to the spokesperson there was no signs of any leakage.

The Hampton Cove Funeral Home says they hope to have the roof fixed in the next few weeks.

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