The horrific deaths of eight seniors at a south Florida nursing home has sparked a statewide check of the state’s elderly as temperatures continue to swelter.
Many seniors in the Sunshine State remain without power and drinking water after Hurricane Irma ravaged the peninsula.
Their plight was highlighted by the incident in Hollywood, Fla., on Wednesday, where the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills was without power.
Fire officials found three people dead inside the 152-bed facility, and another five died at a hospital across the street.
The tragedy prompted action from officials throughout the state.
In North Miami, 79 residents were evacuated from the Krystal Bay Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. The city used trolleys to move its patients to safety.
Irma knocked out the center’s power, leaving it to rely on two generators, which both gave out on Wednesday, the Miami Herald reported.
And in Coral Gables — a city just southwest of Miami — officials sent out a newsletter urging people to check in on the elderly.
Three people were found inside the facility, which had been without power for some time.
(Amy Beth Bennett/AP)
The city also advised seniors without air conditioning to visit Coral Gables cooling centers, the Miami Herald reported.
Temperatures in south Florida have climbed to the high 80s in the days after Irma marched across the state.
About 150 of Florida’s 700 nursing homes remained without power as of Wednesday night, according to the Sun Sentinel.
That seemed to include the Robert King High Towers. Francis Suarez, a Miami commissioner, tweeted that Florida Power & Light was working to restore power to the building — where he said 800 seniors live.
Another 122 people were evacuated late Wednesday from two facilities in Orlando.
Both had been without power since Irma pounded the peninsula earlier this week.
Orlando County fire spokeswoman Kat Kennedy told local media residents were “very hot.”
The Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills was one of dozens of nursing homes knocked out by the storm.
Three residents of the Stone Ledge Manor Assisted Living & Memory Care facility had to be taken to the hospital, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
Workers at the center have been trying to keep its 58 residents cool without power.
“We have no power. We have no air conditioner,” Sue Garcia, the facility’s executive director, told the newspaper. “We have dark hallways. I have families bringing us generators.”
And outages littered Century Village, a senior community with 15,000 residents in Pembroke Pines.
Workers did door-to-door checks Wednesday, giving elderly residents food and water to deal with the heat.
The rapid response was sparked by the tragic events in Hollywood. Officials, including Gov. Rick Scott and the state’s two U.S. senators, demanded answers after the eight seniors died.
Sen. Marco Rubio on Thursday called on the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to investigate whether the Hollywood facility broke any laws.