Eight people have died after Hurricane Irma knocked out air conditioning at a nursing home in Hollywood, Florida, police said.
While the cause of death was not immediately clear, the facility, Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills, evacuated all its residents to hospitals because of the cooling problem.
Most of the deceased were treated for respiratory distress, dehydration and heat-related issues, officials said. Their ages ranged from 71 to 99, the Hollywood Police Department said at a news conference Wednesday evening.
Hollywood Fire Rescue crews responded to a call at about 3 a.m. today for a patient who was reported to be in cardiac arrest, and the patient was transported to a hospital, police said.
At 4 a.m., firefighters were sent back to the facility to transport a patient reported to be experiencing breathing problems, police said. After the second call, fire officials called the state Department of Children and Families to report concerns about the facility.
A third call later came in as well, police said. After fire rescue crews arrived, three patients were found dead on the second floor of the nursing home, and several other patients were found to be in “varying degrees of medical distress,” authorities said.
Of the eight deaths, seven occurred Wednesday, and one Tuesday night.
All remaining patients were removed from the center by 9:15 a.m., after additional rescue units were called in and a complete evacuation of the facility was ordered, police said.
The total death toll from Hurricane Irma continued to climb Wednesday in the United States, with at least 30 dead across three states.
Four people died in South Carolina and three in Georgia, officials said.
In Florida, 23 people have died in connection with the storm, including a weather-related car accident in the Florida Keys and the eight people who died after Irma knocked out air conditioning at a nursing home in Hollywood.
Officials in Monroe County, Florida, which includes the Keys, said today that seven others died in the county during Irma but it was unclear how many of the deaths were storm-related.
The county said search-and-rescue teams were going door to door Wednesday in the hardest hit areas of the Keys and that military personnel are helping with the search.