By Jim Smith

WORCESTER (CBS) – A Worcester funeral director says he only had good intentions. But now he’s being investigated by the state after unclaimed, decomposing bodies filled his basement.

Peter Stefan is well known for handling arrangements for the poor or homeless. But late this summer Stefan had a big problem: nine bodies in various states of decomposition. He says delays in the implementation of a new state cremation law left his hands tied.

“Well we had them in a room that was air conditioned. I also have a separate cooler. But again treating people topically was all you could do,” Stefan said. “The law says you could do embalming if there’s any way you can do it. But we had some people that had been gone for seven and eight and six months.”

Peter Stefan (WBZ-TV)

He says the bodies were too decomposed to embalm. Some neighbors apparently complained about a smell, and the City of Worcester issued a public nuisance order.

The bodies have now been cremated, and Stefan is even building an outdoor refrigeration unit to avoid future problems.

Graham Putnam and Mahoney Funeral Home in Worcester (WBZ-TV)

Stefan has a history of accepting bodies nobody else would take. In 2013, he handled arrangements for Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

Jim Smith