6 dead after AC issue that forced evacuation of Hollywood nursing home

AC repairman says he's at mercy of FPL to fix fuse needed to cool unit

By Peter Burke - Local10.com Managing Editor, Jenise Fernandez - Reporter

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. - Six people are dead after an air-conditioning issue that forced the evacuation of a Hollywood nursing home, police said.

Paramedics and fire-rescue crews were called to the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills shortly after 4 a.m. Wednesday.

Hollywood police Chief Tomas Sanchez said that five people have died and 115 patients were evacuated.

"We're conducting a criminal investigation into the deaths that occurred here," Sanchez said.

Broward County Mayor Barbara Sharief said during an earlier morning news conference that two people died at the facility and three more died at nearby Memorial Regional Hospital.

A sixth death was confirmed in a news release later in the morning.

Several residents from the center could be seen sitting on wheelchairs outside the nursing home next to the hospital.

An adjacent building, Larkin Community Hospital, was also evacuated. Eighteen patients there were relocated as a result of the investigation.

Local 10 News reporter Jenise Fernandez spoke to the man who has been trying to repair the AC. Airstron employee Dave Long said that a fuse needed to cool the AC unit popped out during Hurricane Irma and needs to be repaired. He said he's been calling Florida Power & Light for days to get it fixed.

'There's nothing we can do,' Dave Long, Airstron employee

"There's nothing we can do," Airstron employee Dave Long told Local 10 News. "We've been calling and calling."

"There's nothing we can do," Long said. "We've been calling and calling. ... It just doesn't seem to be going anywhere and I can't do anything until we get that fuse popped back in."

Long described the ordeal as "frustrating."

All the patients were taken to area hospitals, including Memorial Regional Hospital.

"We don't have specific numbers on the conditions of each of the patients involved," city spokeswoman Raelin Storey said.

Local 10 News has contacted FPL for comment.

Memorial Healthcare Systems has established a hotline for families of the patients who were taken to its facilities for care. The number is 954-265-1074. 

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