Chilling (but good) news for Hamilton County Coroner

Sep 24, 2014

Credit Sarah Ramsey

Replacement parts for 40-year-old body coolers are hard to find. But after some searching, Hamilton County officials have found the part needed to fix the broken compressor on the main body cooler in the coroner's office.

County Administrator Christian Sigman says the part was found in Louisville and costs $3,500, but it's the only one the company has. He says he hopes to have the cooler back in service by Friday. Sigman says the county will continue the search for a second part just in case something goes wrong with the back-up body cooler.

As WVXU reported Monday, the compressor on the coroner's main body cooler broke Saturday. Bodies are currently being stored in a back-up cooler used for decomposed remains and bodily fluids. Coroner Lakshmi Sammarco estimated it would cost $20,000 to replace the cooler if it couldn't be fixed.

When both body coolers are online, Sammarco says the morgue can store up to 50 bodies. In the event of mass casualties, the department has access to a mobile morgue that can be brought in from out of town.

However, the county's emergency plan lays out a more local alternative. Administrator Sigman says it calls for storing bodies in refrigerated trucks from Kroger. And if that's not enough - again, only in the case of mass casualties - Sigman says bodies would literally be put on ice at the Cincinnati Gardens' ice rinks.