Power Outages Persist For Millions In Florida, Georgia And Carolinas After Irma

Frederick Owens
September 17, 2017

The death toll left behind by Hurricane Irma continued to rise Wednesday, as six people died at a South Florida nursing home that apparently was without air conditioning amid ongoing power outages statewide, according to local officials.

Police opened a criminal investigation at the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills in Hollywood, north of Miami, where three elderly residents were found dead at the facility and three later died at a nearby hospital, officials said.

The nursing home deaths brought the total number of storm-related fatalities in Florida to 20 and illustrated the urgency of restoring electricity to millions of people across the southern state.

Several other nursing homes were evacuated because of a lack of power or air conditioning, and workers scrambled to keep patients cool with emergency stocks of ice and Popsicles.

The NextEra Energy Foundation, the charitable arm of Florida Power & Light Company and its parent, NextEra Energy, Inc., today announced it is donating $1 million to the Florida Disaster Fund to support relief efforts in the wake of Hurricane Irma.

Sanchez noted the department believes the deaths are connected to the loss of power and air conditioning during the storm. Anitere Flores said on Tuesday's conference call.

FPL posted on Twitter that residents on the west coast of Florida can expect power restoration by September 22 - 11 days after the storm hit Sarasota, though areas hit with tornadoes, flooding or extreme damage could take longer.

Many Florida residents remain swamped and without electricity.

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"I am going to aggressively demand answers on how this tragic event took place", Scott said in a statement.

Rick Scott has directed Florida's agency for healthcare administration to remove the rehabilitation center from the Medicaid program.

An assisted living center that went without power for almost three days said that its efforts to run fans and keep breezes flowing between open windows could only go so far.

The president could not resist injecting a political flavour into his visit, telling reporters in Fort Myers that he was hopeful that Mr Scott, a two-term Republican, would run for the Senate, where Democrat Bill Nelson is up for re-election next year. Others were treated for dehydration, breathing difficulties and other heat-related problems.

Irma hit southwestern Florida on Sunday morning as a Category 4 storm, the second most severe on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale. She said her sister had been in this rehabilitation center for 10 years, and here's what she told us. CEO Jacob Solomon said the group encouraged people to evacuate before the storm if they could, but now they're focused on helping them in their homes. The 152-bed facility located in Hollywood, Florida, has two transformers supplying power to the nursing home.

There are some conflicting details about exactly how much power the building lost.

In the dining hall on Wednesday, staff members were pressing cold rags on patients' shoulders and necks.

Older people can be more susceptible to heat because their bodies do not adjust to temperatures as well as younger people. Her daughter Madeleine Alvarez said they ultimately heeded firefighters' isntructions, despite doctors warning of her mother's fragile state.

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