Six die in Florida nursing home after Irma

Health care workers walk down streets filled with emergency equipment near Memorial Regional Hospital

Six people have died, and over 100 others have been rushed to hospitals from a nursing home that had no air conditioning following a power outage after Hurricane Irma.

Stepped-up safety checks were conducted around the state after eight deaths at the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills, which shocked Florida's top leaders as they surveyed destruction from the punishing storm.

"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.

Florida Governor Rick Scott has directed the Department of Children and Family and the Agency for Health Care Administration to work with local authorities on the investigation.

The rehab center's administrator, Jorge Carballo, said the home "is cooperating fully with relevant authorities to investigate the circumstances that led to this unfortunate and tragic outcome". "This is a small community where everybody knows each other and takes care of each other".

First Lady Melania Trump flew to Florida today to visit with first responders and families affected by the damage resulting from Hurricane Irma. "We got a hospital right here for god sake", added Farmer.

While people around the state waited for power to be restored, a new hazard emerged: carbon monoxide poisoning from electric generators.

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Hurricane Irma made landfall at the Florida Keys, where authorities say a quarter of homes are gone.

Employee Dave Long says the facility had been calling Florida Power and Light to fix the fuse for several days.

"The loss of these individuals is a profound tragedy", said a statement by the Florida Health Care Association, which represents 81% of Florida's nursing centers.

In the battered Florida Keys, meanwhile, county officials pushed back against a preliminary estimate from the Federal Emergency Management Agency that 25 percent of all homes in the Keys were destroyed and almost all the rest were heavily damaged. 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. That includes eight people who died in Monroe County, which includes the Keys, because of and/or during Hurricane Irma, county spokeswoman Cammy Clark said. The records show that past year, the home had only a temporary generator, and was unable to produce documentation confirming its plans to replace it with a permanent one. The number of people remaining in shelters fell to under 13,000. Officials with Memorial Regional Hospital said the patients were treated for respiratory distress and heat-related issues, including dehydration. The victims were aged between 71 and 99.

Five people died in a nursing home left without air conditioning. While some of the deficiencies appeared likely to affect few residents, the report indicates other more-serious deficiencies were found in areas such as food safety, disposal of garbage and infection-control programs.

The White House did not specify which area of the state the President would tour during his stop, but sources told CNN he would travel to the Fort Myers area, on Florida's gulf coast.


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