Hurricane

How 9 people died in the Florida Keys from Hurricane Irma

This Key West house suffered damage from falling trees.
This Key West house suffered damage from falling trees. Keynoter

Nine Hurricane Irma-related deaths have been reported in Monroe County so far.

First responders are still going door-to-door and performing welfare checks on people who have not been heard from since Hurricane Irma.

By Saturday, about 98 percent of homes had been checked — an estimated 15,000 homes, county officials said.

Search and rescue workers who perform these checks do not enter empty homes, but do check residences thoroughly for signs of people who need help or who may be deceased inside, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office said.

Currently, the Medical Examiner, Dr. Michael Steckbauer, and the Sheriff’s Major Crimes Unit are investigating nine deaths which took place either because of the storm, during the storm or are somehow storm related in Monroe County, excluding the city of Key West, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

A number of the people who died remain unidentified and, in coming days detectives will work to find out who they are.

A week after Hurricane Irma devastated Big Pine Key near Marathon, Florida residents return and start to rebuild their homes on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017.

Difficulty with the communications network has hampered efforts to do computer and fingerprinting checks, said Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Deputy Becky Herrin, and limited manpower has also slowed the identification process.

Anyone who has reason to believe they know who one of the unidentified persons is, or who thinks they may be the next of kin for one of these victims, can send an email tojnorman@keysso.net, Herrin said. Make sure to leave name, contact information and the name of the person you think might be a victim.

According to the Sheriff’s Office, the deaths include:

▪ Roy Vincent Pardee, 60 years old, whose body was found in a crashed car in Marathon during the storm.

▪ James Armantrout, who was found dead on Shark Key in the Lower Keys. He had medical conditions which probably caused or contributed to his apparent natural death.

▪ White male, 66, who has been identified, but whose next of kin has not been notified, died of apparent natural causes in Tavernier. He had just been released from the hospital and had chronic medical conditions believed to have caused his death.

▪ White female, 61, of Marathon, who has been identified but whose relatives have not been notified. She had chronic medical conditions which most likely contributed to the cause of her death.

▪ Unidentified older white male, possibly in his 60s, found in the rubble on 28th Street in Marathon. He had gray hair and a beard.

▪ Older white male who died while in shelter at Marathon High School, during the storm. He has been identified but his relatives have not been identified. He had medications with him at the shelter indicating a chronic medical condition which most likely contributed to his death.

▪ Older white male, possibly in his 60s, was found on a partially sunken boat offshore of Stock Island. No identification was found with the body. He had gray hair and a beard.

▪ White male, possibly in his 60s, who remains unidentified, was found across from the Big Pine Key cemetery near the shoreline. He had gray hair and beard and was wearing a red life jacket.

▪ White male, 59 years old, fell and was injured. He was airlifted to Ryder Trauma Center and died at that facility. His remains unidentified.

One dead person was found Saturday, but the death is not believed to be storm related:

White male, 62 years old, was found dead on Big Pine Key. He has been identified but his next of kin has not been notified. He was staying in a trailer in the woods on Big Pine. His death appears to have taken place after the storm and is not believed to be storm related, Herrin said.

Gwen Filosa: @KeyWestGwen

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