Cleveland issues statement on flooded grave at city-owned cemetery

Cleveland officials refuse to comment publicly after grieving family discovered flooded grave

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) -After a grieving family discovered their loved one’s grave was flooded at a Cleveland-owned cemetery, a city spokesperson has issued a statement.

“The City of Cleveland extends its condolences to the family during this difficult time. Solemn occasions should run as smoothly as possible. Recently, the melting snow caused wet ground conditions throughout the entire region. Removing water from a gravesite under these circumstances can be a lengthy process, as water seeps in from all directions. However, our expectation is that staff take the utmost care in their work to provide quality burial services and cemetery maintenance. We are looking into this matter and based on that outcome, we will communicate with the family to find an appropriate resolution on this important issue.”

On Wednesday, Mo Dayem explained to 19 News that he and his family were shocked and saddened to see the condition of the burial plot at West Park Cemetery last week when they arrived for his uncle’s burial.

The entire area was filled with mud, water, and puddles, Dayem told 19 News.

“Such disrespect for such a sensitive issue,” he said. “It’s really painful... painful for everyone that was there.”

He said cemetery workers retrieved a water pump, but there weren’t enough workers to complete the job. So the family had to help, according to Dayem.

On Thursday, 19 News asked the person inside the cemetery office about the flooded grave; he declined to comment and referred us to the city’s Park Maintenance division.

When we tried reaching someone at the Park Maintenance division, we were transferred multiple times and eventually told to reach out to Mayor Frank Jackson’s communications staff.

19 News also reached out to the office of Cleveland City Council President Kevin Kelley, who represents the ward in which the cemetery is located.

Kelley told 19 News by phone that he spoke with the director of Public Works, the department that oversees the Park Maintenance division.

“The situation arose based on some things out of our control in terms of weather,” he said.

In fairness, the region did see a considerable amount of snow and rain before the funeral.

“They were intending to pump it out at a scheduled time so that the family could have a proper service. I guess the family arrived early, so it wasn’t pumped in time,” Kelley added, based on his conversation with city officials.

Dayem previously said he was hoping for an apology from Mayor Jackson.

“The city very much respects the sensitive nature [of this],” Kelley said. “Any time someone loses a loved one, it’s a very traumatic event. The director [is] committed to doing everything to make things right with the family.”

Dayem’s uncle was eventually buried on the scheduled burial day.

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