5 die while removed from hurricane-hit nursing home lacking air conditioning

Police vehicles block the entrance ways to parts of SR A1A and the barrier island areas during a curfew that was still in effect in Delray Beach, Florida on Sept. 11, 2017. Officials say south of Delray Beach, in Holywood, five residents at a nursing home have died after their facility was left without air conditioning following the storm. Photo by Ken Cedeno/UPI

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.

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