Deaths at Florida Nursing Home Under Investigation

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Eight elderly patients, who were being cared for at a facility in South Florida, were found dead after the nursing home lost power during the deadly Hurricane Irma.

Sanchez, the police chief, said a criminal investigation had been launched.

The storm also cut off power, water and sewage to the islands, which are home to some 70,000 people. Dr. Jack Michel in 2006 settled claims after he and five others were accused of agreeing to send patients to his Miami hospital, Larkin Community, for unnecessary treatment, according to the Department of Justice.

Saying the nursing home was responsible to provide its patients a safe environment but failed to do so, he indicated the facility never communicated to state authorities that there was any imminent threat to its patients' lives or safety.

Donald Trump has said he didn't know hurricanes could reach Category 5 before Irma, shortly after meeting victims of the disaster which made landfall in Florida Sunday.

The owner of the facility has not yet publicly commented on the deaths, but has a history of health care fraud charges.

The state Agency for Health Care Administration on Wednesday ordered the Rehabilitation Center officially closed to new admissions.

"I wished I had just said you know i should just go and check on her, just make sure she's okay but when you put something into professional people's hands you think that everything's gonna be okay", said Eatherly's friend Linda Horton.

Florida residents who evacuated ahead of the storm were facing lengthy traffic jams, meanwhile, as they returned to check out their homes after days in shelters or with friends or family. No one from the utility came that day.

A state inspection of the facility a year ago found a series of violations including multiple "medication errors", "overflowing trash in bins", and general "disrepair" leaving many wondering why the facility was still open. "If not maintained, the emergency generator may fail without staff being aware", according to the inspectors' report. The police, hospital staffs, and workers then started evacuating around 100 residents present inside the Rehabilitation Centre at Hollywood Hills.

The facility has had a spotty inspection record.

Wednesday morning starting around 1 a.m., a series of calls went to 911 from the nursing home, as patients began to falter.

Scott added that more than 4 million customers now have power, but there are still more than 2 million without it across the state. Residents have increasingly expressed anger at Florida Power & Light, the only electricity company on the East coast of Florida, for what they say was inadequate planning or structural reinforcements before the storm.