AU­THOR­I­TIES IN­VES­TI­GATE 8 NURS­ING HOME DEATHS

Storm knocked out cen­ter’s power, air con­di­tion­ing

USA TODAY International Edition - - NEWS - Doug Stan­glin and Alan Gomez

, FLA. Fed­eral, state HOL­LY­WOOD and lo­cal au­thor­i­ties opened a crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the deaths of eight nurs­ing home res­i­dents who died of ap­par­ent heatre­lated causes af­ter their fa­cil­ity lost air con­di­tion­ing dur­ing the power out­age trig­gered by Irma.

Emer­gency teams re­sponded to the nurs­ing home Wed­nes­day af­ter po­lice got a 911 call about a heart at­tack at the Re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion Cen­ter at Hol­ly­wood Hills. Hol­ly­wood Po­lice Chief To­mas Sanchez said 115 peo­ple were evac­u­ated, some in crit­i­cal con­di­tion. Three peo­ple were found dead at the scene, one died dur­ing the evac­u­a­tion, and four were pro­nounced dead at a hospi­tal.

The Broward County med­i­cal ex­am­iner iden­ti­fied the vic­tims as Bobby Owens, 84; Manuel Mario Medi­eta, 96; Miguel An­to­nio Franco, 92; Estella Hen­dricks, 71; Gail Nova, 71; Carolyn Eatherly, 78; Betty Hib­bard, 84; and Al­bertina Vega, 99.

Sanchez said his of­fice is work­ing with the state at­tor­ney gen­eral’s of­fice and fed­eral agen­cies to de­ter­mine what kind of crim­i­nal charges may be filed against op­er­a­tors of the fa­cil­i­ties.

Sanchez said they are de­ter­min­ing ex­actly when the power went out and whether an on-site gen­er­a­tor was used af­ter los­ing power. Some win­dows were closed when of­fi­cers ar­rived.

In re­cent years, the fa­cil­ity had been cited by Flor­ida Agency for Health Care Ad­min­is­tra­tion for prob­lems with tem­po­rary gen­er­a­tors.

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