Almost a week after Hurricane Irma’s mighty winds pounded through South Florida, an assisted living facility in Miami Gardens still doesn’t have power.
Family members say that some of the elderly haven’t been able to connect their oxygen tanks and that on Thursday, the facility was desperate for ice.
“I couldn’t find ice anywhere. That’s when I called the Chick-fil-A in Miami Lakes to see if they had any. They told me the ice machine wasn’t working but that the store would donate something better,” said 30-year-old Ana Amador, whose uncle lives at the facility. He’s currently a chemotherapy patient.
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Within the hour, six senior residents each had an original chicken sandwich, waffle fries, and a cold lemonade in hand. A photo taken by Amador shows them smiling and holding up the treats.
“Some said it was so good that they were going to save half for the next day,” Amador said. “This isn’t a neglect issue, but a power issue,” noting that the ALF — located at 18201 NW 57th Ave. — had recently run out of gas for its generator, which was powering the refrigerator and an industrial fan.
Following the death of eight nursing home residents in Hollywood, a Florida Power & Light Co. spokesman said at a press conference earlier this week that power restoration is prioritized to first restore electricity to hospitals, police and fire stations, water treatment plants and 911 call centers.
Nursing homes and ALFs are not on those lists.
As far as when power will come back, FPL doubled down on its promise to have electricity up and running for all homes and businesses on the state’s east coast by the end of Sunday, Sept. 17. As of Friday, 242,010 FPL customers in Miami-Dade remained without power.
But did the ALF ever get its ice? Yes. A nearby gas station donated two bags.
The Agency For Health Care Administration and the Florida Department of Health are asking that all nursing homes and assisted living facilities contact 911 if patients are in jeopardy. Here’s their 24-hour hotline: 1-888-419-3456.