Sept. 13 (UPI) — At least five people died Wednesday as they were evacuated from a Hollywood, Fla., nursing home left without air conditioning after Hurricane Irma struck.
Broward County Mayor Barbara Sharief said three deaths occurred at the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills. Two more occurred as patients were transported to a local hospital. Hollywood Fire Rescue and police reported that 115 patients at the nursing home were evacuated safely, WSVN reported.
The incident prompted police to check on the 42 other nursing homes in the city, located on Florida’s Atlantic coast between Miami and Fort Lauderdale.
“Right now the building has been sealed off. We’re conducting a criminal investigation inside. We believe at this time they may be related to the loss of power in the storm. We’re conducting a criminal investigation, not ruling anything out at this time,” Police Chief Tom Sanchez said.
Although the nursing home had a generator, it is unclear if it was operable. NBC Miami reported the facility had no electrical power after Hurricane Irma struck the state on Sunday, officials said.
Kitchen employee Jean Lindor said the nursing home’s generator was sufficient to supply power for cooking, but the facility had no air conditioning after the storm struck, the Miami Herald reported.