Tragedy at Nursing Home That Lost AC During Irma

6 are reported dead, possibly from extreme temperatures in Florida facility
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 13, 2017 11:05 AM CDT
Updated Sep 13, 2017 1:22 PM CDT
6 Dead After Irma Knocks Out AC at Nursing Home
A man walks his neighbor's dog through floodwaters in Hollywood, Fla., the day after Hurricane Irma came through South Florida.   (Susan Stocker/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)

Six people died after losing air conditioning at a Florida nursing home whose power was knocked out by Hurricane Irma, Broward County Mayor Barbara Sharief confirmed in a press conference Wednesday. Sharief said three people died at the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills and two more were declared dead at a hospital, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports. A sixth death was announced in a press release later Wednesday morning. It may have all been due to extreme temperatures at the facility, though the causes of death haven't yet been officially determined. A police rep simply said "a number of people" were "in respiratory distress" at the facility; 115 people were evacuated from it. More on the deaths and other Irma-related news:

  • Hollywood Police Chief Tom Sanchez says precautionary checks are being performed at the other nursing homes in the area, the Miami Herald reports. Sanchez says a criminal investigation into the deaths has been opened.
  • The Airstron employee who had been trying to fix the AC unit tells Local 10 that a fuse needed to cool the unit popped out during the hurricane. He says he's been trying to repair the facility's unit for days, but Florida Power & Light (FPL) has yet to fix the fuse for him despite his phone calls.
  • The Washington Post reports a rep for FPL noted the county didn't designate the facility as "top critical"—meaning a place given priority attention—during a 2017 hurricane planning meeting.
  • The Post separately reported that as of Wednesday morning some 40% of the state was still without power, and that some may not see it for as long as weeks. The mayor of Naples, Fla., put it bluntly: "The biggest issue is power. It’s 92 degrees and the sun is out and it’s smoking out there.” FPL's best estimate at this point for when power will be restored to those along the state's west coast: Sept. 22.
  • Carbon monoxide is also an issue in the wake of the storm: The Los Angeles Times reports that at least five people have died and more than a dozen others have been treated after breathing carbon monoxide fumes from generators.
(More Hurricane Irma stories.)

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