Number of nursing home deaths increases to 8

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HOLLYWOOD, Fla. -- The number of deaths at a nursing home in Florida in connection with Hurricane Irma has risen to eight.

The office of the Broward Medical Examiner and Trauma Services issued a news release Wednesday afternoon with the names of the victims. Three of the victims were found dead early Wednesday at The Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills, after police got a call about a person with a heart attack. Police say the others died at the hospital or on the way. The victims range in age from 71 to 99.

Hollywood Police Chief Tom Sanchez said investigators believe the deaths at the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills were heat-related. He said the building has been sealed off for the criminal investigation but didn't give further details.

The rest of the center's patients were evacuated. The center has had electricity and air-conditioning problems after Irma.

A total of 115 patients were evacuated from the nursing home, which lost power in the storm and had no air conditioning. Sanchez did not answer questions regarding whether a generator was running inside the place.

Jean Lindor, a kitchen worker, said through a Haitian Creole translator that the air conditioner had not been working since the storm and it had been hot inside.

Paulburn Bogle, a member of the housekeeping staff, said the place had been hot but manageable the past few days. The staff used fans, put cold towels and ice on the patients and gave them cold drinks.