The other day, I was on my way to a collision call when dispatch broadcasted a panic alarm over the radio at a crematorium. Now, that in itself sounds weird. I wondered if someone wasn’t ready and hit the panic button to stop the process.
I was right around the corner from the call so I went there instead. I pulled my car to the curb just north of the location and didn’t see anything going on outside. I picked up the microphone and couldn’t resist as I said, “729, It looks dead out front. I’ll stand by for the follow.”
When the other officers arrived, we had dispatch call inside the business, but there was no answer. We then walked around the business as we checked doors. When we got to the rear we heard a loud bang come from inside. Now we knew at least one person was alive inside.
We knocked on the door a few times before a man opened it up. He was wearing a large reflective apron, two large pot holder style gloves that went up to his elbows and a hat with a face shield. There was also sweat pouring down his forehead. I could feel the heat coming from inside the location through the open door.
The man told us he was alone and didn’t realize the alarm had been set off by another co-worker, who just left.
I asked, “Is it hot in there?”
“Yes, it’s hot,” he said with a smile.
“Can we come in and look?” I asked.
We walked inside as the worker started telling us about the cremation process. The ovens were on one side of the room that you could feel the heat coming from. On the other side of the room there were three long cardboard boxes on a conveyor belt.
Off to the side there were six more boxes that were stacked on shelves. Next to that was a large refrigerator the size of the wall. The worker told us that each of the boxes had bodies inside that were waiting to be put into the ovens.
Within a few minutes, we were done and we went back out to our patrol cars. Now, it was time for another call, but we had a story to tell for sure.
As officers, we’re used to dealing with dead bodies, but this was entirely different. The place had a weird feeling about it.
It was definitely not a place I ever thought I would get a tour of. In fact, I had no idea our city had a crematorium until that call. I had driven by this location many times over the years and had never seen anyone outside.
Thinking back, I guess it wouldn’t be the type of place where you saw a bunch of people hanging around.
This was more of a place where everyone was dying to get in.