Temperature outside was cooler than inside Hollywood nursing home, firefighter says

12 patients die after facility loses air conditioning

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. – First responders took the stand Wednesday on day three of a hearing for the Rehabilitation Center of Hollywood Hills as the owner tries to keep his operating license.

Lt. Amy Parrinello, of Hollywood Fire Rescue, was the first witness called. She was one of the first to respond to a 911 call from the facility on the day that a mass evacuation was ordered due to numerous patients falling ill. 

"We were dispatched to a cardiac arrest," Parrtinello said. "She had a temperature of 107.5."

Parrtinello said that was the highest temperature she's ever seen on someone in her career.

Parrinello said she responded to two 911 calls before the mass evacuation of the facility was ordered in the days after Hurricane Irma.

The patients were wheeled out and taken next door to Memorial Regional Hospital.
A total of 12 deaths are attributed to the intense heat of the facility after it lost air conditioning.

First responders said the temperature outside was cooler than the temperature inside the building that was filled with elderly clients.

Hollywood firefighter Luis Santana told the judge on Wednesday that employees at the facility didn't seem to know what to do when the patients' began falling ill.

"It was pretty apparent to us that the staff wasn't doing their job, because if they had been, this wouldn't have escalated to this scale," Santana said. 

All 12 deaths have been ruled homicides. 

The Hollywood Police Department is still conducting a criminal investigation. 

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