Cemetery Caretaker: Pictures Of Garbage On Graves Don’t Tell Whole Story

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Facebook pictures appearing to show garbage on top of graves at one local cemetery have been generating at lot of outrage online.

KDKA went to McKeesport and found out the photos do not tell the whole story.

Fairview Cemetery’s caretaker, Melvin Provance wants anyone complaining on social media to come volunteer at the cemetery with him.

“I don’t get a dime – not a dime,” said Provance.

He told KDKA he has volunteered at the cemetery since he was 11-years-old.

“I have a lot of time tied up in here, I really do. My dad’s buried here,” said Provance.

His dad used to be the caretaker and he has carried on the tradition since he passed.

“People don’t understand it – they say somebody has to own it. Nobody owns it.  Now, that people have become more and more unappreciative, I don’t want to say I get to it when I get to it, but basically,” said Provance.

Provance said when he had shoulder surgery, he was in the hospital for three months and that’s when people started dumping on the wood burning pile they use to dig graves in the winter.

“We burn the wood the size of the grave to thaw it out so we can dig it. That’s what it’s for. I don’t know where the computers come from and the TVs. I have no idea,” said Provance.

According to Provance, the pictures on Facebook are deceiving because they appear to show the pile of rubble on top of a headstone. But, according to him, it was a duplicate stone and nobody is buried there.  He also told KDKA nobody is buried in the area where he keeps his pickup truck.

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A man who volunteered for 11 years, who didn’t want his face on camera, said it’s a shame many people don’t understand the money spent on keeping up the grounds comes out of the volunteers’ own pockets.

“People would complain about how high the grass was and all that. I would tell them no one gets paid to do this stuff.  I would tell them they are welcome to come help.  They would just complain.”

Today, there are four regular volunteers who are working to clear the electronics and other trash that other people dumped onto the woodpile.

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