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Crypts in Crisis: Funeral home addresses deteriorating mausoleum

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FAIRVIEW HEIGHTS, Ill. – A grieving son was greeted with broken rock and concrete when recently visiting a well-known mausoleum in Fairview Heights.

David Carr visited the Lake View Funeral Home and Memorial Gardens in October, only to find the mausoleum fenced off. He took pictures while on his visit of the disrepair throughout the area.

“There’s stones along the wall that have fallen in… stones up top that have come down,” he said. “Part of an interior wall has come down and you can see it in the monuments.”

Carr wondered if old and abandoned mines were to blame. Last September, a grocery store closed due to the ground shifting just a few miles south of the mausoleum.

“Everybody was talking (about) mine subsidence; it’s a common thing in this area so that was your first fear,” he said.

A civil engineer at the Illinois Department of Natural Resources inspected the site and found no signs that mines were to blame this time.

Carr believed this could be promising, but it brings doubts, as when he first spotted the problem three months ago, the funeral home said the damages would be fixed in a matter of weeks.

A funeral home corporate spokesperson declined to let FOX 2 enter the area as it wasn’t safe.

Delays in repairs have been postponed due to finding specialists and waiting for the weather to warm up again. Temperatures need to be consistently over 50 F for the restoration to be done properly.

“We are committed to providing all families with a well-maintained environment for visitation and remembrance,” Ryan Zinke, general manager at Lake View, said. “Because of the size and age of the garden mausoleum, along with the intricate and unique details that decorate the façade, the repairs require experienced specialists.”

Carr’s mother, Suzann, died 10 years ago this coming April. His memories of her remain strong.

“This is the spot she wanted,” he said. “(The mausoleum) had a 50s (or) 60s aesthetic, which is when she was born. It just kind of spoke to her.”

Carr hopes he can look back at this one day and laugh if it gets fixed. The funeral home’s general manager looks forward to revealing those repairs.

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