During its Jan. 24 meeting, the Montgomery County Commissioner’s Court approved a motion transferring a portable morgue from the Montgomery County Hospital District to the Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management and spending $5,000 to relocate it to the county’s forensics facility on North Parkway in Conroe.
“We had a portable morgue trailer refrigerated unit ... that’s in the hospital district’s inventory that they loaned to us,” OHSEM Executive Director Jason Millsaps said during the meeting. “I’m trying to facilitate transferring that item to us permanently from the hospital district as well as relocating it to the new forensics facility. And this is what this item does.”
During the discussion of this agenda item, Precinct 2 Commissioner Charlie Riley and Precinct 3 Commissioner James Noack initially expressed concern about having the portable morgue at the forensics facility.
“I don’t want to get rid of it, but I don’t want it at the new forensics [facility],” Riley said.
When asked her opinion, Dr. Kathryn Pinneri, the Montgomery County Forensic Service Center’s director, said the portable morgue is an amazing asset for the county.
“We shouldn’t get rid of it,” Pinneri said. “It doesn’t matter to me where we use it. ... Without any adjustments, very easily we can hold over 50 to 60 decedents in our new facility. So the need for it would probably be very low, but I don’t want to get rid of it because we can still have lots of things happen.”
During discussion, Millsaps shared that the portable morgue is not on wheels and would require trailers to move it. He also said if it is moved somewhere else besides the forensics facility, a new agenda item regarding electrical power would need to be brought to the commissioners.
“When we built out Dr. Pinneri’s facility, it was stubbed out at the loading dock for the power for this unit,” Millsaps said. “If I move it somewhere else, I may have to come back with a request for funding to hook it up to power because the $5,000 is just to get it moved.”
When commissioners expressed concern about how the facility looks, Pinneri said the portable morgue would be located in the back of the forensics facility.
“You can’t see it from the main entrance,” Pinneri said.
Following discussion, Commissioner’s Court voted unanimously to approve the motion.