5 die at Florida nursing home as Irma toll hits 69
Observer Online Desk
Miami: Hurricane Irma has claimed eight more lives, including five patients at a Florida nursing home that lost power, authorities said on Wednesday, as more than 4 million people in four states struggled without electricity and residents slowly returned to the devastated Florida Keys.
Categorized as one of the most powerful Atlantic storms on record when it rampaged through the Caribbean, Irma has killed at least 69 people, officials said.
At least 26 people died in Florida and nearby U.S. states, and destruction was widespread in the Keys, where Irma made initial U.S. landfall on Sunday and became the second major hurricane to strike the mainland this season.
Police opened a criminal investigation at the Rehabilitation Center of Hollywood Hills, where two elderly residents were found dead at the facility and three later died at a hospital, officials said.
Some residents were evacuated early Sunday morning and some woke up feeling sick at the center, which had been without air conditioning, Broward County Mayor Barbara Sharief told reporters on Wednesday.
“The building has been sealed off and we are conducting a criminal investigation inside,” Hollywood Police Chief Thomas Sanchez told reporters on Wednesday.
Prolonged power outages remains a risk for the elderly through the region, Sharief said.
“Elderly people and our population of children are very vulnerable, so they’re not out of the woods yet,” Sharief said. “We need to try to restore power and try to get those people to a safe and comfortable place.”.