Residents Upset After Bethany City Council Approves Crematorium

Wednesday, February 18th 2015, 5:25 pm
By: Karl Torp

Despite watching Youtube video that some may find disturbing, the Bethany City Council approved a plan to build a crematorium.

A standing room only Bethany City Council meeting ended with a 5-4 vote in favor of a zoning change.

Mercer-Adams Funeral home wants to build a funeral home with a crematorium on a plot of land on the 4100 block of Council Road, just south of the 39th Street Expressway. The owners said they want to keep up with requests to provide cremation services instead of using a third party.

Those opposed to the plan showed council member a Youtube video of OKC Mortuary Service off NE 23rd near the Capitol captured last year. It shows thick black smoke coming from the facility.

You can also hear an employee's explanation for the black smoke. The worker is heard saying embalmers brought in an obese lady.

“Usually, if they are obese they have a darker smoke,” the OKC Mortuary Service employee is heard saying.

OKC Mortuary Service told News 9 the smoke caught on camera is an extremely rare occurrence. The facility completes 250 to 300 cremations a month and only one or two a year will produce black smoke like the one seen in the video according to the owner.

Mercer-Adams contracted out 110 cremations last year. Owner Gary Mercer said the cremations at their facility will have no odor and produce very little smoke.

“It's right by Sterling House of Bethany, a senior adult living center. Six of their residents will be looking out at it, sipping a cup of coffee and realizing they see a person going up in smoke. It's emotionally devastating for that person,” said Matt Schinske, who is opposed to the rezoning.

The Bethany City Council meeting lasted four hours. Mecer-Adams hopes to break ground in the spring.