Local crews help restore power to Irma victims

Ruben Ruiz
September 19, 2017

With millions of people in Florida still lacking power, officials are urging those who need a break from the heat to visit cooling centers and drink water.

Several other nursing homes were evacuated because of a lack of power or air conditioning.

All patients have since been evacuated.

Other big power utilities in Florida are units of Emera Inc and Southern Co, which also operates the largest electric company in Georgia.

Despite this documented history, the most prominent story on the front page of Friday's Miami Herald proclaimed that the nursing home industry helped killed the measure.

Making the drama even more shocking, the deaths could perhaps have been prevented by hooking up an emergency generator to keep air conditioners working in the stifling hot home after it lost electricity in the storm.

They're one of almost 100-thousand FPL customers in Collier County without power.

The National Weather Service said a gauge at Trilby in Pasco County is at 16.3 feet (5.9 meters), with the major flood stage is at 16.5 feet (6 meters).

Police were first called to the facility at about 4:30 a.m. but authorities did not arrive until after 6 a.m., officials said. It said on Tuesday nursing home workers made repeated calls to FP&L, which had not fixed the transformer.

He added that the patients who have been admitted to the hospital are mostly being treated for "respiratory distress, dehydration and heat-related issues".

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"It is clear that this facility can not be responsible for Florida's vulnerable patients, and therefore the State will stop them from providing care", Scott said in a news release.

When tornadoes ripped across Alabama in 2011, they flattened an assisted-living center, tore through a brand-new senior housing complex and ripped apart a nursing home, where four dozen residents massed in hallways, praying as trees crashed down and a cloud of dust rained upon them.

In the immediate aftermath of the storm, roughly 65 percent of all homes and businesses in the state were in the dark. In both instances, the nursing home corrected these deficiencies. Scott also talked the agency and the Department of Children and Families to investigate the nursing home. In southwest Florida on Saturday, officials went door-to-door Saturday warning residents who live near the Withlacoochee River north of the Tampa Bay area of the potential for record-high flooding in the coming days.

The victims range in age from 71 to 99 and causes of their death are yet to be determined, the release said.

"The initial investigation has determined that the facility's air conditioning system was not fully functional", the city of Hollywood, Florida, said in a statement.

A man wades through storm surge flood waters from Hurricane Irma along the St. Johns River in the Five Points neighborhood September 11, 2017 in Jacksonville, Florida.

"We look forward to working with the governor, the Legislature, and regulators to discuss how these meaningful goals can be achieved timely and reasonably, including implementation, funding support and regulatory procedures for nursing centers for this objective", the association said in a news release Sunday.

Governor Rick Scott said he was "absolutely heartbroken" to learn of the deaths of the elderly retirees.

Three agencies have launched investigations into how this happened, but many questions remain unanswered.

"It set off a red flag that something might be going on", said Frum, who grabbed a colleague and hurried across the street. Lawyers John Leighton and Max Panof, of the Leighton Law Firm, say she died at the nursing home because she spent days without enough air conditioning following Hurricane Irma. "I just don't understand it", she said.

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