Published: Tue, September 19, 2017
Sport | By Wendy Sparks

Florida Keys residents trickle back to warning of new crisis

Florida Keys residents trickle back to warning of new crisis

"I am demanding answers as we furiously investigate this bad loss of life".

Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) has increased the support it is providing to Florida Power & Light (FPL) as the Florida energy company works to restore service in the wake of Hurricane Irma. Several hard-hit Caribbean islands, including Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, suffered more than half the fatalities.

Almost a week after Hurricane Irma made landfall in Florida as a Category 4 hurricane, millions of residents remain without power. It then plowed north up the Gulf Coast of the state before dissipating.

Power outages may last even longer in some parts of the tri-county region with extensive wind and water damage.

The first 911 call from the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills didn't sound ominous: A nursing home patient had an abnormal heartbeat. Workers at the facility got more portable air conditioners from a nearby hospital, the facility's timeline says.

Certified nursing assistant Natasha Johnson, who left the facility weeks ago for another job, said she didn't understand why the center didn't transfer patients to the hospital sooner.

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Hollywood, Fla., police have opened a criminal investigation into the deaths, and investigators from the state attorney general's office were also dispatched.

"She said, 'It's very hot in here, ' and the staff said, 'Yes, it is, '" Dean said.

Nursing home operators had put out cooling units and fans in an effort to maintain reasonable temperatures and added additional cooling units supplied by a hospital next door on Tuesday.

The eight people are believed to have died from heat-related injuries.

"Over the past few days, I have seen firsthand how Hurricane Irma has impacted our communities, and I know from talking with these families that power restoration is the number one thing they need to start the recovery process", Gov. Rick Scott said in a written statement.

Governor Scott has noted that over 30,000 people are working to help restore power to residents in Florida. "This situation is unfathomable".

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Scott's rule will expire in 90 days, and he vowed to take action against facilities that don't comply within the 60-day deadline.

Irma caused about $25 billion in insured losses, including $18 billion in the United States and $7 billion in the Caribbean, catastrophe modeler Karen Clark & Co estimated on Wednesday.

Keys Energy Services, which provides power to residents from Big Pine to Key West, was reporting Sunday morning that more than 11,000 residents were still without power, mostly on the far end of the archipelago, past Marathon.

Walking along a street in Naples Estates with his wife, Melania, the president encountered piles of broken siding and soggy furniture heaped on front porches, and residents who were happy to get a presidential visit.

A total of eight others died in Georgia and the Carolinas. "Service is their profession, and we are proud to answer the call of duty", said IBEW Local 1245 Business Manager Tom Dalzell. "We rode out that terrible storm in a shower that I had reinforced after Hurricane Marilyn", Benson added.

Recovering from Hurricane Irma in the Florida Keys is a struggle with no power, water or stable communication.

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