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Irma claims 5 more lives at nursing home

Irma claims 5 more lives at nursing home”

Six people are dead after Hurricane Irma knocked out air conditioning at a nursing home in Hollywood, Florida, according to ABC affiliate WPLG.

No official cause of death was given, but authorities described the deaths as heat-related.

Dozens of the state's senior centers still lacked electricity days after Hurricane Irma hit the state, and several facilities were forced to evacuate.

Irma struck southwestern Florida on Sunday morning as a Category four storm before weakening to a tropical depression on Monday. Jacksonville, a sprawling city on the state's northeast coast, was deluged with historic flooding.

In the state of Florida, one in five residents is 65 or older.

Rob Gould, a spokesman for Florida Power & Light Co., said parts of the Hollywood nursing-home facility had power from the utility, but declined to comment further on the specific situation. A kitchen worker told the Miami Herald that the nursing home was using its generator's power to cook food but not to power its air conditioning.

Dr. Randy Katz, director of emergency services at Memorial Regional Hospital, which is next to the nursing home, alleged there were extremely hot temperatures on the nursing home's second floor. Hollywood Police announced Wednesday they had started a criminal investigation.

"The building has been sealed off and we are conducting a criminal investigation inside", Hollywood Police Chief Tomas Sanchez told reporters on Wednesday. It said the facility had in fact been listed as "non-critical" infrastructure, but only because that was how nursing homes were supposed to be designated under FPL's own guidance.

The Broward County medical examiner identified the victims as: Carolyn Eatherly, 78; Miguel Antonio Franco, 92; Estella Hendricks, 71; Betty Hibbard, 84; Manuel Mario Medieta, 96; Gail Nova, 71; Bobby Owens, 84; and Albertina Vega, 99. The cause of their deaths has yet to be determined.

Elsewhere, at least 13 people are believed to have been killed in Florida in Irma-related circumstances.

Others investigating include Florida's Agency for Health Care Administration and the Department of Children and Families.

Total insured losses from the storm are expected to run about $25 billion, including $18 billion in the United States and $7 billion in the Caribbean, catastrophe modeler Karen Clark & Company estimated on Wednesday.

President Donald Trump and his wife, Melania, were to visit Florida to survey the damage on Thursday. After visiting shelters this week and talking to people who evacuated due to Hurricane Irma, the number one thing I heard from families is that they want their power back on.

People who fled their homes in hard-hit islands including St Martin and the US Virgin Islands that were all but cut off from the world for days arrived in San Juan late Tuesday.



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