Florida Keys residents trickle back to warning of new crisis

Rising river threatens Florida residents in Irma's wake

In the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, the lack of air conditioning at a Florida skilled nursing facility (SNF) appears to have led to the death of eight residents, spurring action to ensure resident safety at other SNFs throughout the state.

More than 140 residents of the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills were evacuated on Wednesday after fire and rescue crews and medical staff from a nearby hospital found numerous facility's residents suffering from dehydration, heat stress and breathing difficulties.

The nursing home deaths brought the total number of storm-related fatalities in Florida to 20 and illustrated the urgency of restoring electricity to millions of people across the southern state.

In Hollywood, the Rehabilitation Center said the hurricane had knocked out a transformer that powered the air conditioning.

Temperatures in South Florida this week have been in the 80s. Earlier this morning, Sanchez said Hollywood Police and Fire Rescue arrived at the facility after getting calls that patients were in "critical need of care".

Three patients died at the nursing home, and three others died Wednesday morning shortly after being transported to local hospitals.

Later in the evening, Irma became a Category 2 storm and made landfall on mainland Florida.

FPL leaders continue to say they are "racing to get the lights back on". Power has been restored for at least 89%, the agency said.

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Attorneys with Leighton Law filed the emergency petition in Broward Circuit Court on behalf of the family of Albertina Vega, one of the eight people who died after a portable air cooler malfunctioned at the nursing home, located at 1200 N. 35th Ave in Hollywood.

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

While the causes of their deaths were not immediately clear, the entire facility was evacuated due to the cooling issues.

Before it reached Florida, Hurricane Irma cut a destructive swath through the Leeward Islands. "It is too early to put percentages or dollar figures to damage until we get into the neighborhoods", the county commissioner, Heather Carruthers, said in a statement.

Mr Trump has promised to return to Florida "numerous times" as thousands of people begin the painstaking task of rebuilding their homes - adding that Irma's destruction was on a scale "nobody has seen before". People can point all the fingers of blame they want at state and local officials or even the power company, but in the end, based on news reports, it appears the staff at Hollywood Hills failed their patients.

Another assisted care facility for dementia patients in Fort Myers, Florida, went without power for three days after Hurricane Irma as elderly patients suffered in the rising heat.

The governor said he has ordered a probe by state authorities. "This is a state that I know very well, as you understand".

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