Florida Power Outages Turn Deadly In Hurricane Irma's Aftermath


Inside a sweltering nursing home, a crisis unfolded on Wednesday as 150 centers across Florida still lacked power days after Hurricane Irma ravaged the state.

One resident died late Tuesday at Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills and was taken directly to a funeral home.

Florida Governor Rick Scott has instructed the state Medicaid agency to remove a Florida nursing home from the program. "This situation is unfathomable".

Was the center's backup generator capable of powering the air conditioning system?

Their ages ranged from 71 to 99, according to police. The chief said authorities have not ruled anything out in the deaths, including carbon monoxide poisoning from generators. He also said investigators will look into how many windows were open.

Defede said officials at the nursing home said when they called the number, it went to a voice mail.

"The Hollywood Police Department has been granted a search warrant for this property", Raelin Storey, the city's public affairs director, said at a news conference outside the nursing home Thursday morning. "Every facility that is charged with caring for patients must take every action and precaution to keep their patients safe".

"The ALF's and nursing homes are patrolled, regulated by the state of Florida".

The overall death toll from Irma climbed to 81 on Wednesday, with several hard-hit Caribbean islands accounting for more than half the fatalities, and officials continued to assess damage inflicted by the second major hurricane to strike the U.S. mainland this year. A Tampa man died after the chain saw he was using to remove trees recoiled and cut his carotid artery.

Altogether, more than 100 patients there were found to be suffering in the heat and were evacuated, many on stretchers or in wheelchairs.

Facing a situation that was out of control, doctors and fire officials ultimately chose to transfer all the patients to the hospital, where dozens were treated for respiratory distress, dehydration and heat exhaustion, officials said.

Including the nursing home deaths, at least 25 people in Florida have died under Irma-related circumstances, and six more in SC and Georgia, many of them well after the storm had passed. The night before, there was a call about another nursing home in Sunrise, Fla., without air conditioning, and a state agency sent generators. "This is going to be a very uncomfortable time". People died when they weren't evacuated from nursing homes and hospitals. Utility officials warned it could take a week or more for all areas to be back up and running.

Older people can be more susceptible to heat because their bodies do not adjust to temperatures as well as young people. Almost 2.7 million homes and businesses, about 1 in 4 Florida customers, were still without power Thursday.

Scrutiny has also settled on the nursing home's owner, Dr. Jack Michel.

On Thursday, 57 residents were moved from a suburban Fort Lauderdale assisted-living facility without power to two nearby centres where electricity was just restored. About 110,000 people remained in shelters across the state.

Elsewhere around the state, a Coral Gables apartment building was evacuated after authorities determined a lack of power made it unsafe for elderly tenants.

By the afternoon, five more had died. Rescue crews went door to door in the 94-degree heat to check on people and hand out water, ice and meals. "We cared for them like family". "And we're not leaving". Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio.

The Keys felt Irma's full fury when the hurricane roared in on Sunday with 130 miles per hour (209 kph) winds.

The utility refused to answer any specific questions about the case.

The remarks came after Trump praised federal and state officials for their response to Hurricane Irma as he visited Naples and Fort Myers on the state's southwestern coast.

Nursing home administrators released a timeline that showed they called Florida Power and Light multiple times after losing the air conditioning. "It was very hot on the second floor". The staff used fans, put cold towels and ice on patients and gave them cold drinks, he said. "You're not going to convince a 95-year-old Holocaust survivor to do something that she doesn't want to do".

Parts of Florida's agriculture industry are in "tatters" as rural communities continue to face severe conditions after the storm, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam said Thursday.

Moulder's attorney, Bill Dean, said Moulder visited her mother on Monday and anxious about the heat.