LEWISTON — The state pulled the operating and funeral licenses of a city cremation business Monday after discovering several sets of remains at the business last week that had been improperly handled.

An investigator who visited Affordable Cremation Solutions Thursday said at least eight unrefrigerated bodies had been there since mid-May.

“The health and physical safety of the public are in immediate jeopardy” because the owner, Kenneth Kincer, has failed to follow state rules, according to an order announcing the license suspensions issued by Chad Poitras, chairman of the state Board of Funeral Services.

The board determined the business had violated multiple laws and regulations, including failing to secure remains and storing bodies in unrefrigerated space.

The suspension is for 30 days, pending a formal hearing before the panel on July 13. During the suspension, Kincer “may not practice any aspect of funeral service, including without limitation accepting new deceased people’s human remains, forwarding any deceased people’s human remains to a crematorium, holding any funeral service or any other activity of a funeral practitioner.”

A person answering the phone at the business Wednesday said it would have no comment.

When the board began looking at Affordable Cremation Solutions in April after two people complained that they could not retrieve remains from the business, Kincer told the board that he’d been ill. At about the same time, he told the Sun Journal he could not comment and referred questions to his attorney, who declined to comment as well. The lawyer, John Clifford of Lisbon, could not be reached Wednesday.

“I don’t think this is a big deal,” Kincer said in April. “We’ve been overrun with work.”

A state investigator visited the business on April 8, but found it locked with nobody there. An inspector returned a week later and found five uncremated remains in unrefrigerated storage.

Noting that “during the time of the death of a loved one, individuals are experiencing grief, stress and loss, making them part of a vulnerable population,” the state sent a letter to Affordable Cremation Solutions and Kincer asking for information and to designate an alternative licensee to handle the situation. It got no response.

On June 8, the board’s investigator made a follow-up visit and found three bodies that had been there since April and at least five more that had been there since mid-May. During another visit on June 10, the investigator found 11 bodies unrefrigerated.

The funeral board’s order said some family members “were very upset” about the situation. The order also said the state Office of Vital Statistics had received two complete and one incomplete death certificates from the company between April 27 and June 8.

“There were significantly fewer certificates than decedents’ human remains,” it said.

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