Published: Sat, September 16, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Irma knocks out power to about 7.3 million: authorities

Irma knocks out power to about 7.3 million: authorities

"The building has been sealed off and we are conducting a criminal investigation", Sanchez said.

Jorge Carballo, administrator of the home, said: "The Rehabilitation Centre at Hollywood Holls has evacuated this morning due to a prolonged power failure to the transformer which powered the facility's air conditioning system as a result of the hurricane". The total number doesn't include the nursing home deaths, which police said are under investigation. Florida Gov. Rick Scott has ordered an "immediate moratorium" to prevent it from receiving any patients; officials are also checking on other assisted-care facilities and evacuating them if they've lost power.

Hollywood spokeswoman Raelin Storey said one patient died on Tuesday and the body was taken away by a funeral home.

"The Center and its medical and administrative staff diligently prepared for the impact of Hurricane Irma".

"We're not ruling anything out", he said.

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"Like many places in South Florida, the nursing home has been without power since being blasted by tropical storm winds with hurricane gusts on the edge of Hurricane Irma. Although the details of these reported deaths are still under investigation, this situation is unfathomable", Scott said.

She said some of the 15,000 residents at Century Village were vulnerable and "we are concerned about their welfare".

Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez said officials were providing ice to 27 senior residence facilities still without power, local media reported.

The deaths come as Florida continues the recovery and rebuilding process days after Irma pounded the state's peninsula. Those on the west coast, where Hurricane Irma made landfall, will likely have power restored by September 22, according to Florida Power & Light Co. "The people who were working there worked hard to make a good outcome for our patients", she said. The two - among the thousands of power-line workers brought in from out-of-state by major utilities - spent about five minutes outside a house in Fort Lauderdale, when two cars with women who said they lived in the neighborhood stopped to inquire about the return of power to their homes - obviously trying to get their attention.

Police wouldn't comment on whether the nursing home had a generator or whether investigators had ruled out carbon monoxide poisoning.

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Randy Katz, medical director for the emergency department at Memorial Regional Hospital, across the street from the home, described the chaotic scene he encountered when he arrived there Wednesday: dozens of elderly people severely dehydrated or in respiratory distress, suffering in a sweltering atmosphere.

An aide said later Sharief was also planning to visit the facility. Police are going to the 42 other assisted living facilities in the area to check on those other residents.

"Parts of the facility itself were energized by FPL, I can't give you anything more specific than that at this point", FPL spokesman Rob Gould told a news conference, referring to the Rehabilitation Center of Hollywood Hills.

Sharmaine and Todd Moldenhauer went back to their home Wednesday for the first time since the storm hit northern Florida.

In addition to severe flooding across Florida and extensive property damage in the Keys, one of the chief hardships facing Floridians has been widespread power outages that initially plunged more than half the state into darkness.

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