Florida (September 14, 2017): At least eight nursing home residents died in Hollywood, Florida, due to the prolonged power failure to the transformer which powered the facility’s air conditioning system.
The deaths may be due to the loss of the home’s air-conditioning after Hurricane Irma struck Sunday. The causes of death are still being investigated, Hollywood Police Chief Tomas Sanchez said.
“We are conducting a criminal investigation (and) not ruling anything out at this time,” Sanchez said at a press conference Wednesday.
A statement from the nursing home, the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills, confirmed that it had a “prolonged power failure to the transformer which powered the facility’s air conditioning system as a result of the hurricane.”
Temperatures reached into the 90s Tuesday and Wednesday in Hollywood.
“I am going to aggressively demand answers on how this tragic event took place,” Florida Governor Rick Scott said in a statement.
Scott’s statement said Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration and the Department of Children and Families have launched investigations.
“If they find that this facility was not meeting the state’s high standards of care, they will be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law,” Scott’s statement said.
The facility reported yesterday that its fans and spot coolers were in working order, and that it had power, according to the statement.
“Parts of the facility itself were energized” by Florida Power and Light, according to the company’s communications director, Rob Gould. “Can’t give you anything more specific than that at this point.”
Hospital administrators were told to dial 911 if they believed anyone was at risk, the governor’s statement said.
“The Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills is responsible for the safety of their patients,” the statement said.