Eight people have died after a Florida nursing home and long-term-care facility apparently lost air conditioning in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, and police have launched a criminal investigation into the incident.
Three people were dead when authorities arrived at The Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills, Tomas Sanchez, police chief in Hollywood, Fla., told reporters Wednesday.
Hollywood police later tweeted that they had evacuated 158 patients to local hospitals.
“The suspicion is that these deaths should not have occurred,” NPR’s Jon Hamilton reports from the scene. Jon says that “apparently, the facility lost some, but not all of its power after Hurricane Irma.”
There are some conflicting details about exactly how much power the building lost. Jon reports: “As of Tuesday, [the facility] was reporting that everything was OK, that they were using portable air conditioners and fans.” Then, police responded to a 911 call and found three people dead and others in struggling health.
Sanchez declined to say exactly how hot it was in the building when authorities arrived, simply saying: “I can tell you it was very hot on the second floor.” He also would not state how long and how much of the building was without power, saying it was part of the criminal investigation.
A kitchen worker at the center told the Miami Herald that the facility “had power from a generator to cook meals, but no air conditioning.”
Click here to read more.
SOURCE: NPR, Merrit Kennedy