MIAMI, Fla. (AP) - City officials said eight patients from a Florida nursing home have died in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.
A news release from the City of Hollywood said that three patients were found dead in the facility early Wednesday, while others were taken to the hospital and pronounced dead there.
Hollywood Police Chief Tom Sanchez said investigators believe the deaths at the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills were heat-related. He said the building has been sealed off for the criminal investigation but did not give further details.
A total of 115 patients were evacuated from the nursing home, which lost power in the storm and has no air conditioning. Sanchez did not answer questions regarding whether a generator was running inside the facility.
Jean Lindor, a kitchen worker, said through a Haitian Creole translator that the air conditioner has not been working since the storm and it has been hot inside.
Paulburn Bogle, a member of the housekeeping staff, said the place had been hot but manageable the past few days. The staff used fans, put cold towels and ice on the patients, and gave them cold drinks.
Airstron employee Dave Long said that a fuse needed to cool the AC unit popped out during Irma and needed to be repaired. He said he's been calling Florida Power & Light for days to get it fixed.
"There's nothing we can do," Long said. "We've been calling and calling. It just doesn't seem to be going anywhere and I can't do anything until we get that fuse popped back in."
Long described the ordeal as "frustrating".
The streets around the center have been blocked off and a mobile command center has been set up outside.
The 152-bed Rehabilitation Center of Hollywood Hills provides short-term rehabilitation services and long-term care, according to their website.