8 killed after Irma hits Florida nursing home

Residents are evacuated from the powerless Hollywood Hills Nursing Home 1200 N 35th Ave. on Wednesday morning

-Hurricane-scarred Florida warily eyed the fate of its most vulnerable residents and emergency workers were urged to immediately check on those in nursing homes after eight people died in a scorching facility that lost its air conditioning in the storm.

Broward County Mayor Barbara Sharief said three were found dead at the nursing home in the city of Hollywood.

Some 120 residents of the facility have been evacuated "due to intense heat and no power", WSVN said.

"It's a sad state of affairs", the police chief said.

The overall death toll from Irma climbed to 81 on Wednesday, with several hard-hit Caribbean islands accounting for more than half the fatalities, and officials continued to assess damage inflicted by the second major hurricane to strike the us mainland this year.

Some 4.3 million homes and businesses were still without power on Wednesday in Florida and neighboring states, down from 7.4 million customers on Monday.

Officials said the building has been without power since Hurricane Irma struck earlier this week and may have had air-conditioning issues.

In Florida, nursing homes are complying with licensing regulations as long as they have alternate forms of power, said Kristen Knapp, spokeswoman for the Florida Health Care Association.

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The Daytona Beach Fire Department said Wednesday morning that one person was dead and three others taken to a hospital for carbon monoxide poisoning from a generator inside a home there, and the department pleaded with people to keep their generators outside.

Trump will visit Fort Myers in southwest Florida, an area hard hit by the storm, for a briefing on Hurricane Irma. Although the details of these reported deaths are still under investigation, this situation is unfathomable.

Hollywood police said in a statement Thursday that state and local authorities are conducting a criminal investigation to determine what led to the patient deaths at The Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills.

In addition to severe flooding across Florida and extensive property damage in the Keys, residents faced widespread power outages that initially plunged more than half the state into darkness.

Hollywood Police Chief Tom Sanchez said, "Right now the building has been sealed off".

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. For example, the website said 25.9 percent of "short stay" residents were hospitalized again after admission to the nursing home, above the state average of 23 percent and the national average of 21.1 percent.

"Our son was very uncomfortable - he couldn't sleep, he was sweating, and he was out of his routine", said Guillen, sitting in the lobby of the hotel with her family. Authorities had feared a much slower detour route might be necessary if the Santa Fe River flooded the interstate near Gainesville.

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