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Five dead at Florida nursing home after Irma cuts power

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Rick Scott

"Facility administration has been in communication with Florida Power & Light and the Governor's office since the beginning of Hurricane Irma, and is cooperating fully with relevant authorities to investigate the circumstances that led to this unfortunate and tragic outcome".

Irma cut power to millions of Floridians and killed more than 54 people across the Caribbean and southeastern United States. It then plowed north up the Gulf Coast of the state before dissipating. More than 6.5 million homes and businesses lost electricity in Florida, and fuel shortages plagued much of the state.

More than half of a large retirement community in Pembroke Pines, Florida, still had no electricity by Wednesday morning, leaving elderly residents stuck in rooms with no access to lifts.

Broward County Mayor Barbara Sharief said three were found dead at the nursing home in the city of Hollywood.

The facility has a back up generator, but it does not power the air conditioning, Carballo said through a representative Wednesday morning.

Police said they have opened a probe into possible criminal negligence.

Police have launched a criminal investigation. "It was very hot on the second floor".

Hollywood Police Chief Tom Sanchez said investigators believe the deaths at the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills were heat-related. The five women and three men ranged in age from their 70s to 99.

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"To have any kind of focus on the cause and effect of the storm versus helping people, or actually facing the effect of the storm, is misplaced", Pruitt said". Some of the patients admitted to nearby Memorial Regional Hospital had temperatures of up to 106 degrees, hospital officials said Thursday. "This situation is unfathomable".

Friday afternoon, the state's Agency for Health Care Administration said conditions at the facility present a threat to the safety of residents and it suspended the nursing home indefinitely from taking patients paid for by Florida Medicaid.

Catastrophe modeler Karen Clark & Co estimated Wednesday that the destructive storm has caused about 25 billion USA dollars in insured losses, including 18 billion dollars in the United States and 7 billion dollars in the Caribbean.

At least a quarter of the homes in the Keys were destroyed, according to federal emergency management officials, and 65 percent suffered some damage. When residents of the lower Keys are finally allowed to return they will find nearly total devastation.

President Donald Trump, pressed on whether back-to-back deadly hurricanes have changed his views on climate change, dodged the question on Thursday by contradicting past comments he made about the size of storms that have rocked Texas and Florida. Irma wreaked total devastation in parts of the Caribbean, where at least 43 people have died.

An official confirmed to ABC News that a visit by the president to the U.S. Virgin Islands, which was also hit by the hurricane, is a possibility, and said that if it does occur, it wouldn't happen until next week at the earliest.

"Hurricane Irma is of epic proportion, perhaps bigger than we have ever seen", Trump said on Twitter last week. "My house, my business, both my vehicles, everything is gone", said Benson, who was stopping in San Juan before continuing to Boston to seek refuge with his wife's brother.

Trump noted that the Florida Keys, the string of tourist islands off the southern coast of the state, had been particularly hard hit and recovery efforts there may take longer.

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