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Six die in Fla. nursing home after Irma; millions still without power

Six die in Fla. nursing home after Irma; millions still without power

“Things look real damaged from the air, but when you clear the trees and all the debris, its not much damage to the houses, ” said Monroe County Commissioner Heather Carruthers.

For days, evacuees from the lower and middle Keys have been turned away from a checkpoint state authorities set up near Mile Marker 74 on the Overseas Highway.

While almost all of Florida was engulfed by the 400-mile-wide (645-kilometer) storm, the Keys - home to about 70,000 people - appeared to be the hardest hit. Utility companies are working to restore power to the battered Keys as frustrated evacuees emerge from shelters, ready to go home.

But by comparison, the final tally for Hurricane Matthew, which affected the state without making landfall last October, was about $268.5 million. Days after Irma passed, nearly 80 percent of homes and businesses are still without electricity there, and floodwaters still cover some communities entirely.

Florida Governor Rick Scott announced Wednesday that the Florida Department of Children of Families and the Agency for Health Care Administration have also begun an investigation.

Traveling to the region so quickly came with challenges, however; because Trump did not want to divert resources from search and recovery efforts, he was unable to view the damage up close or meet Texans displaced by the storm. The tail end of the archipelago, however, from Key West eastward to Big Coppitt Key, appears to have fared better than the Middle Keys. "So I hope he runs for the Senate" against incumbent Bill Nelson, Trump said. Residents said many areas were unrecognizable.

Relief from the storm is coming slowly.

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One person has died and three others are being treated at a hospital for carbon monoxide poisoning from an electric generator in Daytona Beach, the fourth such death as people across the state wait for power to be restored after Hurricane Irma.

Utility firm Florida Power & Light said it had provided power to some parts of the Hollywood nursing home but that the facility was not on a county top tier list for emergency power restoration.

Scrutiny has also settled on the nursing home's owner, Dr. Jack Michel.

The other thing is, this place is right across the street from a hospital, and that hospital had power.

"It makes you count your blessings", she said. But the most recent state inspection reports showed no deficiencies in the area of emergency plans. Frustrations grew this week when some residents tried to go home along a two-lane stretch of highway through the Keys but couldn't get through.

Mr Trump earlier met with federal and state leaders in Fort Myers, where he was brimming with enthusiasm for the state and federal response effort. Police say that the 145 patients who were sent to Memorial Regional Hospital include four from Larkin Community Hospital Behavioral Health Services - a facility that shares a building with the Rehabilitation Center.

Inside a sweltering nursing home, a crisis unfolded on Wednesday as 150 centers across Florida still lacked power days after Hurricane Irma ravaged the state. Repeated phone calls to FPL brought more promises that went unmet from the utility to come out and fix the power line, according to nursing home officials.