The Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills in Florida where eight elderly residents died on Wednesday is asserting that neither Governor Rick Scott nor several state agencies responded when the nursing care home signaled distress following Hurricane Irma. When the air conditioning failed, the care facility also claims that staff contacted Florida Power & Light (FPL) four times, but no one arrived to repair the electricity, the Sun-Sentinel noted.

Though FPL has not confirmed or denied claims made by Hollywood Hills, Governor Rick Scott’s office issued a statement on Friday. The governor’s office is refuting the care facility’s assertion by stating that the care home did not “report that conditions had become dangerous,” according to the Sun-Sentinel.

The nursing home also did not inform the governor’s office that residents’ health and safety was in jeopardy, according to the statement that Governor’s Scott’s office issued.

Officials at the nursing home, however, did call an emergency cellphone belonging to Governor Scott’s office, according to ABC News. Hollywood Hills officials asked for assistance. When the cell phone assigned to the governor’s office received the calls for help, the calls were referred to the Florida Department of Health and to the Agency for Health Care Administration. The communications director for Governor Scott, John Tupps said the calls were “quickly returned,” according to ABC.

Governor ‘heartbroken’ over elderly residents dying at Hollywood Hills

The state’s governor has shared that he was “heartbroken” when he heard of the residents’ dying at the care facility and also stated earlier this week that he aimed to “aggressively demand answers,” ABC reported.

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He said that the state will hold anyone legally accountable if it is discerned that people did not act in the best interest of the care home’s residents after the air conditioning failed following the hurricane.

The eight residents who died on Wednesday were between ages 71 to 99, police said. The body temperatures of the nursing home patients were as high as 106 degrees, according to officials and to ABC.

First responders ordered Hollywood Hills evacuate all elderly residents

At approximately 3 AM on Wednesday, Hollywood Fire Rescue teams responded to Hollywood Hills. A resident was reported to be in cardiac arrest. Fire rescue personnel transported the patient to the hospital. Fire rescue personnel were again summoned to the nursing home at 4 AM Wednesday. The second resident responders assisted was having respiratory distress. Following the second call, fire rescue officials contacted the state’s Department of Children and Families (DCF). Fire personnel reported that they were concerned about Hollywood Hills, according to ABC.

Police said there was a third call. Additional first responders were dispatched and arrived at the nursing home. Three residents on the second floor of Hollywood Hills were discovered deceased, according to ABC. Several additional elderly residents were evidencing medical distress. First responders ordered Hollywood Hills to evacuate all of its residents Wednesday morning.

Judge asked to order Hollywood Hills evidence preserved

Albertina Vega was 99-years-old. She was found deceased by Hollywood Hills staff, the Sun-Sentinel reported. A Miami law firm is representing Vega. On Friday, the firm asked a judge to issue an order protecting the evidence in the case related to Vega’s death. Lawyers filed an emergency complaint on Vega’s behalf. Attorney John Leighton said, “If the same thing happened to a dog, it would be considered animal cruelty.”

Leighton wants cell phone and surveillance video, materials and documents related to identifying all equipment of the air conditioning, and additional items preserved. He is waiting for a court date, the Sun-Sentinel noted. He wants a judge to assure that evidence relevant to the case isn’t forgotten or altered. He postulated, “Who is more vulnerable in society than a 99-year-old woman with respiratory problems after a hurricane.”