Newly released 911 calls placed from inside a Florida nursing home during Hurricane Irma have revealed the grim unfolding of a tragedy that ended with 14 elderly residents dead.
Authorities in Hollywood released the calls from early in the morning of Sept. 13 as the situation grew increasingly worse at the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills, which had lost its air conditioning during the storm days earlier.
"Whatta night," an employee is heard saying in one call. "Oh my God, this is crazy," can be heard in another.
Astonishingly, it wasn't until the last of six calls made that day that dispatchers appear to realize the calls were about a series of sick patients and not a single individual.
However, the employee seems hesitant to ask for additional paramedics. "You guys already have a few other paramedics here, so I'm not sure," the employee tells the dispatcher, who asked if more were needed.
That same day, eight residents of the nursing home died.
The dead were identified by the Broward County medical examiner as Estella Hendricks, 71, Gail Nova, 71, Carolyn Eatherly, 78, Miguel Antonio Franco, 92, Betty Hibbard, 84, Manuel Mario Medieta, 96, Bobby Owens, 84, and Albertina Vega, 99.
According to reports, six other patients injured by the heat have since died, bringing the total fatality count to 14.
out power across the region, including the nursing home. The home's generators powered its lights and equipment, but not the air conditioning.
In a statement, the nursing home said it sustained a "prolonged power failure to the transformer which powered the facility's air conditioning system as a result of the hurricane."
"We are devastated by these losses," nursing home administrator Jorge Carballo said. "We are fully cooperating with all authorities and regulators to assess what went wrong."
Carballo said staff put out fans and cooling units after the air conditioning system was disabled.