Some Nursing Home Residents Very Sick

Google Earth  MGN

Google Earth MGN

In the past week, Irma has killed more than 30 people in Florida, Georgia and SC - including eight residents stranded in a sweltering Hollywood, Fla., nursing home who died after the facility's power went out.

Police in Hollywood, north of Miami, opened a criminal investigation on Wednesday after finding three dead patients at the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hill, a facility that had been operating with little or no air conditioning. "We are. not ruling anything out at this time", Hollywood Police Chief Tomas Sanchez said of the investigation.

At least 34 storm-related deaths have been reported on the U.S. mainland, according to local officials.

"To think of the incredible power of that storm - and while people unfortunately passed, it was such a small number", Trump told reporters in Fort Myers.

Such capacity is now being tested in Florida, home to among the highest concentrations of senior citizens in the United States with more than 1.6 million people ages 75 years or older, according to the 2015 U.S. Census.

Hollywood police are investigating the eight deaths.

Hurricane Irma has slammed into southwest Florida, threatening to bring unsafe storm surges to coastal areas, already battered by the hurricane's powerful winds.

An emergency cellphone assigned to the office of Florida Gov. Rick Scott was called by nursing home officials at the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills asking for assistance, the governor's office confirmed to ABC News Friday. Another person, who tried to get out of the home, was found dead on the front lawn, while four others from inside the home were taken to a nearby hospital.

Governor Scott said Wednesday he was "absolutely heartbroken" to learn of the "unfathomable" deaths at the retirement facility and promised to "aggressively demand answers". Police say three patients died at the facility and three at a hospital.

The Naples Municipal Airport also reported a gust of 142 miles per hour, near reports of 135mph gust and sustained winds of 93mph - the most powerful recorded gusts on the mainland.

Irma rampaged through the Caribbean, and barrelled into the Florida Keys island chain on Sunday.

"Our centers' first priority is always the safety and well-being of every resident in their care and they are doing everything in their power to meet their immediate and ongoing needs", wrote the association's executive director, Kristen Knapp.

Kitchen worker Jean Lindor told the Miami Herald a generator allowed staff to cook but did not provide the facility with air conditioning.

115 patients were evacuated from the rehabilitation center and sent to hospitals.

Broward County Mayor Barbara Sharief said the center had contacted the county's Emergency Operations Center Tuesday morning to alert that it had lost power and the incident was then reported as a "mission-critical request" to Florida Power & Light for power restoration.

He said most of the patients admitted to hospital have been treated for respiratory distress, dehydration and heat-related issues.

"We took part in emergency management preparedness calls with local and state emergency officials, other nursing homes and health regulators", he said.