The death toll left behind by Hurricane Irma continued to rise Wednesday, as five people died at a South Florida nursing home that apparently was without air conditioning, according to local officials.
Officials said temperatures soared inside the Rehabilitation Centre at Hollywood Hills, 20 miles north of Miami, after enduring a "prolonged power failure" to the transformer that powered the air conditioning units.
Workers at the facility said Hurricane Irma caused the air conditioning to fail Sunday and they struggled to keep residents cool with fans, cold towels and ice.
Elsewhere, Irma has been blamed for four deaths in SC and two in Georgia.
The deaths at the Rehabilitation Centre at Hollywood Hills, now under police and state investigation, stirred outrage over what many saw as a preventable tragedy and heightened concerns about the vulnerability of the state's large elderly population amid widespread, lingering power outages.
"And if you go back into the 1930s and the 1940s, and you take a look, we've had storms over the years that have been bigger than this", he said.
Irma cut power to millions of Floridians and killed more than 54 people across the Caribbean and southeastern United States.
Almost 2.7 million homes and businesses - about one in four buildings - are still without power in Florida.
"When asked if they had any medical needs or emergencies, (the nursing home) did not request assistance or indicate any medical emergency existed", Broward County Mayor Barbara Sharief said in a statement. He and his wife, Deb, have been without power for six days.
U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson announced Thursday that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs had agreed to open its nursing homes following eight deaths at Florida nursing home. They found three people dead and evacuated 145 people to hospitals, many on stretchers or in wheelchairs, authorities said.
In the battered Florida Keys, meanwhile, county officials pushed back against a preliminary estimate from the Federal Emergency Management Agency that 25% of all homes in the Keys were destroyed and almost all the rest were heavily damaged.
"We're working very hard on that, and we have a lot of goods out there, a lot of water, food, a lot of everything", the president said.
As of Saturday morning, FPL said it had restored power to 280,460 customers in Sarasota-Manatee who lost power from Irma, but 71,090 were still in the dark.
The remarks came after Trump praised federal and state officials for their response to Hurricane Irma as he visited Naples and Fort Myers on the state's southwestern coast. Carbon monoxide from a generator is also suspected in the death of a man in Miami. The building has been sealed off while police investigate.
The tragedy now means that more than 80 people have died because of Irma across the USA and the Caribbean.
Hill and Knowlton Strategies, a public relations firm representing the nursing home told ABC News, "It would be inappropriate to discuss a pending suit".
Older people can be more susceptible to heat because their bodies do not adjust to temperatures as well as young people.
A spokesman for Scott's office, John Tupps, said "every call made to the governor from facility management was referred to the Agency for Health Care Administration and the Florida Department of Health and quickly returned".
President Donald Trump met with emergency responders in Florida on Thursday, thanking them for what he called their "incredible" work after Hurricane Irma hit the state over the weekend.