Elderly residents perish in the sweltering Florida heat after power outage halts air conditioners in care home.
Eight patients at a sweltering nursing home died after Hurricane Irma knocked out the air conditioning, raising fears about the safety of Florida’s four million senior citizens amid power outages that could last for days.
Hollywood Police Chief Tom Sanchez said investigators believe the deaths at the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills were heat-related.
“The building has been sealed off and we are conducting a criminal investigation,” said Sanchez.
Governor Rick Scott called on Florida emergency workers to immediately check on all nursing homes to make sure patients are safe, and he vowed to punish anyone found culpable in the deaths.
“This situation is unfathomable,” he said.
The home said in a statement that the hurricane had knocked out a transformer that powered the air conditioning.
The five women and three men ranged in age from their 70s to 99.
Exactly how the deaths happened was under investigation, with Sanchez saying authorities have not ruled anything out, including carbon monoxide poisoning from generators. He also said investigators will look into how many windows were open.