RIDGELAND, S.C. (WSAV) — A family in Ridgeland, South Carolina says the crematorium they live next to is making them sick, but the owner of the business told News 3 that they’re not doing anything wrong.
Residents whose home is next to the Regional Crematory Center say the smoke coming from it is causing them to be sick. They say they won’t even let family members on the property some days in fear of them also becoming ill.
“I’ve had sinus infections. I’ve had bad stomach aches. I’ve had…where it’s made me sweat. Made me feel like I was having some type of allergic reaction. There’s a lot of different symptoms, and I’m not the only one who had them,” neighborhood resident Ronnie Osgood Jr. said.
Osgood and his father told us they’ve reached out to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), as well as the police about the smoke from the crematorium.
“That stuff is coming in my house, and makes me sick. And I had to go to the hospital. I was so sick, I couldn’t breathe,” Ronnie Osgood Sr. said.
Osgood Jr. told News 3, that when police surveyed the area, they said the fumes were unsafe and advised him to call the health department.
“Every time we call, by the time they get here, sometimes they have it cleaned up, or they have the fire smothered also. But the smell was still left over and he knew whatever it was couldn’t have been right. He even said, ‘I know this isn’t just trash or anything like that,’” he said.
An employee at Regional Crematory Center told me he would not speak to me without a lawyer present, claiming Osgood was harassing them.
However, William Galloway, owner of the business, spoke to WSAV after, telling us that his business has been cleared by the state funeral board and he is in compliance with all regulations.
WSAV reached out to DHEC to confirm.
The agency said the Regional Crematory Center has a registration air permit but that they were previously issued a notice of violation in 2023 for several violations in 2022.
Those violations were failure to: record when the facility is not in operation, hours of operation, and the daily cremation rate in bodies per day; record temperature readings, keep maintenance records and operational ranges on-site in written or electronic logs; and conduct visual checks for abnormal emissions within 30 minutes of startup for each case.
Galloway invited News 3 to come observe the cremation process, telling us he’d like to demonstrate his business’ compliance.
When we visited the property, a DHEC official was present, conducting testing on the crematory.
No smoke was observed coming from the opening at the top of the crematory building on the day we visited.
However, Galloway refused an opportunity to speak on camera and refused to speak about the videos provided to News 3 by Osgood’s son of smoke coming from other areas of the property.
The South Carolina DHEC sets regulations for crematoriums in the state.