Authorities in Hollywood, where police have opened a criminal investigation of the deaths, said Wednesday that investigators had found that the nursing home still had some power. Ten Florida hospitals were closed and are continuing to coordinate with the state on reopening, he said.
Defede said officials at the nursing home said when they called the number, it went to a voice mail.
"This situation is unfathomable", he said.
The eight people who died at the nursing home were between the ages of 71 to 99.
Ahead of its arrival, the hurricane triggered mass evacuations, with more than 6 million in Florida and neighboring states asked to flee. Patients were treated for dehydration, breathing difficulties and other heat-related ills, authorities said.
After the incident, the nursing home evacuated all of its patients. "We have no air conditioner", Sue Garcia, the facility's executive director, told the newspaper.
Police have started a criminal investigation into the deaths.
The Memorial Healthcare System is now treating over 150 patients evacuated from the nursing home at different hospitals in its network.
The office of Florida Gov. Rick Scott said the facility had told the health-care administration it had electricity and access to fans and coolers as of Tuesday afternoon.
They posed for photos as people approached them and many thanked them as piles of debris, broken furniture and flattened trees were stacked nearby, according to The New York Daily News.
Robert Gould, the utility's chief communications officer, said Broward County did not list the facility as critical infrastructure - the places where restoring power is a top priority - in a hurricane planning meeting earlier this year.
The city also advised seniors without air conditioning to visit Coral Gables cooling centers, the Miami Herald reported. He credits their early warnings and quick post-storm response for keeping the statewide death toll relatively low.
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