Dolores Biamonte, 57, latest die after Irma knocked out facility’s cooling system
The number of people who died at a hurricane-hit nursing home in the state of Florida due to lack of air conditioning has risen to 12, according to authorities.
Dolores Biamonte, 57, died late Thursday and had the same symptoms as 11 other residents who died in the days after Hurricane Irma hit the state Sept. 9, the Broward Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed to Anadolu Agency.
The storm cut power to the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills, knocking out its cooling systems.
Local and federal law enforcement agencies have launched a criminal investigation into the deaths and the facility's license has been revoked and the building is closed.
Patients were treated for respiratory distress and heat-related complications at the. Officials said nearly 150 patients were evacuated from the building, many in wheelchairs or stretchers.
Irma decimated the Caribbean as a Category 5 hurricane with winds as high as 185 miles per hour (297 kilometers per hour) before it made mulitple landfalls in the continental U.S.
It left nearly 13 million people in Florida without power and 180,000 without a home.
Irma caused at least two dozen deaths in the Caribbean before it churned over Cuba and moved toward the continental U.S.
Damage is estimated around $100 billion, or 0.5 of a percentage point of U.S. GDP of $19 trillion.
Irma is listed as the second-strongest Atlantic hurricane, according to the National Hurricane Center, behind only Hurricane Allen in 1980 that had peak winds of about 190 miles per hour (305 kilometers per hour).