6 dead at nursing home after Irma knocks out air conditioning

ABC News/WOLO – Six people are dead after Hurricane Irma knocked out air conditioning at a nursing home in Hollywood, Florida, according to ABC affiliate WPLG.

While the causes of their deaths were not immediately clear, the facility, Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills, was evacuated due to the cooling issues.

Dr. Randy Katz, director of emergency services at Memorial Regional Hospital, which is next to the nursing home, said there were extremely hot temperatures on the nursing home’s second floor.

Hollywood Mayor Josh Levy said temperatures have climbed to over 90 degrees in the city and that half of Hollywood is without power.

An individual handling air conditioning for the facility told WPLG that a fuse was damaged during Hurricane Irma, resulting in cooling issues for the past few days. The facility itself has power, the individual said.

Click here to watch live coverage from WPLG.

Hollywood Police Chief Tomas Sanchez said the incident began with a call this morning about a patient having a heart attack.

Officials said responders “found several patients in varying degrees of medical distress.” Three patients were found dead the facility and others were found there “in need of immediate transport,” officials said. The other three deaths occurred at or en route to a hospital, police said.

All 115 patients from the rehabilitation center were evacuated to hospitals, officials said.

Most of the patients treated for respiratory distress, dehydration, and heat-related issues, officials said, and about 12 of the 115 patients are in the emergency room.

Officials said 18 additional patients from a second adjoining facility were also being relocated due to the investigation, though these patients were “not medically compromised.”

The deaths are under investigation.

Police said a criminal investigation is underway and they are not ruling anything out.

ABC News’ Ben Stein and Jason Volack contributed to this report.

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