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Shocked residents return to Irma-ravaged Florida Keys

16 September 2017
Shocked residents return to Irma-ravaged Florida Keys

"Officers are on scene and continuing a criminal investigation", said City of Hollywood spokesperson Raelin Storey Thursday morning during a press conference.

In Hollywood, the Rehabilitation Center said the hurricane had knocked out a transformer that powered the air conditioning. Police opened a criminal investigation Wednesday into the deaths.

He said crews evacuated 115 patients from the centre and are in the process of evacuating another 18 patients from a nearby behavioural facility next door.

It wasn't initially clear what caused the deaths, but Sharief said the residents were found in medical distress just after 4 a.m. Wednesday. Broward County said the home alerted officials Tuesday that it had lost power, but when asked if it had any medical needs or emergencies, it did not request help.

"Evacuating 133 people is quite an undertaking", said a police department spokesperson.

The overall death toll from Irma climbed to 81 on Wednesday, with several hard-hit Caribbean islands accounting for more than half the fatalities as officials continue to assess the damage inflicted by the second major hurricane to strike the United States mainland this year.

"There's nothing we can do", Long said.

At least eight nursing home residents have died in Hollywood, Florida, according to city officials.

Moulder said her 93-year-old mother, Bertha Aguiar, suffers from Alzheimer's disease and has been stressed since she was evacuated from the nursing home. We believe at this time they may be related to the loss of power in the storm.

"We work with them to understand what those facilities are, and then we address those facilities initially", Mr. Gould said, regarding meetings with counties.

But the needless and tragic deaths of eight elderly people Wednesday after apparently being left in sweltering temperatures in a nursing home/rehabilitation center has shocked South Florida and with good reason. The staff used fans, put cold towels and ice on the patients, and gave them cold drinks. "Florida is a retirement haven for hundreds of thousands of people that come here specifically for that and we need to make sure they're going to safe", he said. But it said that "other critical facilities" - notably hospitals and 911 centers - were identified as higher priorities and that the nursing home was very close to a hospital that did have power.

While police have only confirmed one death, Broward County Mayor Barbara Shief announced that the five died because of the lack of air conditioning. Sanchez did not answer questions regarding whether a generator was running inside the facility.

Police were helping to evacuate about 80 residents from the the Krystal Bay Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in North Miami Beach on Wednesday afternoon. "I have nothing", said Mercedes Lopez, 50, whose family fled north from the Keys town of Marathon on Friday and rode out the storm at an Orlando hotel, only to learn their home was destroyed, along with the gasoline station where Lopez worked.

"Approximately 150 facilities out of the almost 700 (nursing) facilities in the state do not now have full power services restored", the statement said.

In addition to severe flooding across Florida and extensive property damage in the Keys, residents faced widespread power outages that initially plunged more than half the state into darkness.