Not counting the nursing home deaths, at least 17 people in Florida have died under Irma-related circumstances, and six more in SC and Georgia, many of them well after the storm had passed.
In Hollywood, the Rehabilitation Center said the hurricane had knocked out a transformer that powered the air conditioning.
Across Florida, powerless residents are forced to deal with spoiled food in warm refrigerators, cellphones losing battery and service, and high temperatures increasing risk of heatstroke for the young and old.
Hollywood Police Chief Tom Sanchez said investigators believe the deaths at the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills were heat-related, and added: "The building has been sealed off and we are conducting a criminal investigation".
The tragedy now means that more than 80 people have died because of Irma across the USA and the Caribbean.
Power outages continue to plague the state, with 4.4 million customers still without power as of Wednesday morning, according to the Florida Division of Emergency Management. Prosecutors say that after he bought the hospital in 1998, Michel and others fraudulently increased the number of patients at the facility, along with their Medicare and Medicaid revenues, by bringing in patients from nursing homes and assisted-living facilities.
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The chief said authorities have not ruled anything out in the deaths, including carbon monoxide poisoning from generators. Causes of death have not been released for that person or any of the others who died at the facility.
Police had evacuated 115 residents on Wednesday to other facilities in the area.
The deaths may be due to the loss of the home's air-conditioning after Hurricane Irma struck Sunday, according to CNN affiliate WPLG. So as a precaution we're moving everybody over so they'll be more comfortable. Federal prosecutors said that Michel received kickbacks as part of the deal and that some of the patients came from assisted living facilities that he owned.
And now we're learning new details about the death of eight senior citizens at a sweltering nursing home there.
Before the hurricane smashed into the USA mainland Sunday, it struck northern Caribbean islands, leaving at least 44 people dead, authorities said.
President Donald Trump, first lady Melania Trump, center, and Gov Rick Scott- R Fla., right, participate in a briefing on the Hurricane Irma relief efforts, Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017, in Ft. The officials of the fire department and doctors chose to transfer the patients who were suffering from respiratory diseases, dehydration and heat exhaustion from the hospital when they found the situation became unstable. We also saw several family members who were trying to get information about relatives they had in the facility. Some homes and businesses could be without power for weeks, especially in the hardest-hit areas like southwest Florida, the NextEra Energy Inc unit said.
"We're short of fuel", he said.
SHAPIRO: And I know you visit her every day. People can point all the fingers of blame they want at state and local officials or even the power company, but in the end, based on news reports, it appears the staff at Hollywood Hills failed their patients.