Five people died of an air conditioning-related issue at a Florida nursing home knocked out of commission by Hurricane Irma, officials said.
The Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills — without power since the storm made landfall earlier this week — was evacuated early Wednesday, with some 120 residents being removed.
Three people died at the facility, while another two died en route to a nearby hospital, Broward County Mayor Barbara Sharief said at a news conference.
Police are now probing the deaths for any misconduct.
“Right now, the building has been sealed off and we are conducting a criminal investigation inside,” Hollywood Police Chief Tom Sanchez told reporters outside the 152-bed facility.
At least one of the victims “supposedly was without electricity for a few days,” a police spokeswoman told the Sun Sentinel.
Five people have died since the Rehabilitation Center in Hollywood Hills lost power.
Officials didn’t indicate whether heat might’ve caused the fatalities.
The nursing home was using a generator to cook, but not supply air conditioning, a kitchen worker told the Miami Herald.
Temperatures are forecast to hit 88 degrees in Hollywood on Wednesday, one of many Florida cities still without power.
Sharief asked for patience as residents continue to struggle through the hot weather without electricity.
Many Floridians — particularly the elderly — face new risks even days after Irma churned up neighborhoods and left an estimated 5 million without power.
I will be traveling to Florida tomorrow to meet with our great Coast Guard, FEMA and many of the brave first responders & others.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 13, 2017
President Trump confirmed Wednesday that he’ll visit Florida the following day to assess the damage.
Another person was killed early Wednesday while running a generator inside a Daytona Beach home that was left without power, fire officials said. Three more were hospitalized for carbon monoxide poisoning.
“Lots of people cooking on grills due to power loss. Please do not use propane inside the house or garage. Must be 15 feet from home,” the Daytona Beach Fire Department previously warned in a tweet Tuesday night.
Irma has killed 13 others in Florida along with four people in South Carolina and two in Georgia.
Four people were rescued from a burning, boarded-up house across the peninsula in St. Petersburg.
Officials in Daytona Beach have warned residents of new dangers as the southern Florida city remains without power.
Rescuers needed to pull boards off the blazing home to save the two adults and two children, St. Pete Fire Rescue District Chief Steve Girk told local ABC affiliate WFLA reports.
Florida’s elderly population has particularly suffered.
In Miami, seniors living at the Civic Towers public housing development were told Monday they couldn’t go back inside until the city inspected the structure.
Many were forced to sleep on the sidewalk as a result, the Miami Herald reported. And they didn’t want to go back to shelters, where some of them said they had to sleep on cardboard boxes. A first inspection took place on Tuesday.
“Nobody wants to leave because their whole world is in their homes,” Olga Vincente, who’s lived at Civic Towers for four years, told the Miami Herald.
Parts of Daytona Beach remained flooded days after Irma made landfall.
Just four residents got on a bus to go to a shelter until the building is inspected, which will happen again on Wednesday.
“These people should have been sent somewhere that they can sit and rest and not live in the extra discomfort of going to a shelter,” 55-year-old Waldo Salazar, who cares for his 90-year-old mother, told the newspaper.
“I’m going to the shelter because I have no choice,” he continued. “And I have an elderly person who’s 90 years old and I have no other choice.”
Civic Towers owner Redwood Housing told the Miami Herald in a statement it is “helping to find temporary living arrangements for residents of Civic Towers and Civic Towers Senior, which were evacuated under a mandatory order issued by the City of Miami.”
Roughly half of the 15,000 residents at the Century Village senior housing complex in Pembroke Pines remain without power.
That’s left many of its residents — 55 years or older — unable to use elevators and trapped in their apartments.
With News Wire Services