News for North Texas
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

As COVID-19 Cases Climb, Tarrant County Medical Examiner Brings In Refrigerated Trucks To Store Bodies

A wooden structure covers two large refrigerated trucks parked outside the Tarrant County Medical Examiner's office.
Miranda Suarez
Tarrant County officials say the two refrigerated trucks parked outside the medical examiner's office will be ready for use later this week.

The medical examiner's office and many funeral homes are reaching capacity. Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley says the trucks will be used "on an as-needed basis."

As COVID-19 cases continue to rise, Tarrant County officials are preparing to house additional bodies as the medical examiner's office nears capacity.

"Some of the funeral homes, their coolers are also near reaching capacity," said Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley.

Whitley said the two large refrigerated trucks parked outside the medical examiner's office will be ready for use as soon as tomorrow. He said county leaders have known for months they may eventually need overflow units, and the two trucks can hold about 100 bodies combined.

Beyond COVID-19 deaths, Whitley said staffing shortages and a rise in homicides have contributed to the influx of bodies being housed at the medical examiner's office. He said the pandemic has also complicated the grieving process for many families.

"Some of the funeral homes, the quickness of dealing with the services has slowed down," Whitley said. "Travel arrangements are a little bit more difficult."

Got a tip? Email Syeda Hasan at You can follow Syeda on Twitter @SyedaReports

KERA News is made possible through the generosity of our members. If you find this reporting valuable, consider making a tax-deductible gifttoday. Thank you.

Syeda Hasan is the Elections Editor and Reporter at KERA. Before moving into that role, she covered mental health at the station. A Houston native, her journalism career has taken her to public radio newsrooms around Texas.