Sunday, July 15, 2018
News Roundup

Irma's death toll in Florida rises to 42, but will grow

TALLAHASSEE —Deadly carbon monoxide fumes have killed 11 people in Florida as Hurricane Irma's death toll rose to 42 on Tuesday, state officials reported.

The numbers are also preliminary, as there are several known deaths still not included on the official list, such as the eight elders who died after their nursing home in Broward lost air conditioning and the nine deaths reported in Monroe County. The Broward deaths have sparked a criminal investigation.

The list released by the Division of Emergency Management is based on reports confirmed and attributed by county medical examiners and reported to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

The latest update shows that recovering from the storm continues to be more deadly than the monster Category 4 winds and rain. In addition to the 11 people who succumbed to carbon monoxide poisoning, often caused from the deadly fumes from generators, the state reports that nine died from blunt trauma or injury, including those in car accidents.

As flood waters continue to rise in some areas, there have been seven deaths from drowning. There were five deaths associated with heart attacks. One person died from electrocution in Orange County, and one death has been attributed to heat exhaustion, although the death reported in Broward County also was tied to "chronic alcoholism."

The list includes deaths from Broward, Collier, Duval, Hardee, Highlands, Hillsborough, Lake, Lee, Liberty, Marion, Okeechobee, Orange, Palm Beach, Pinellas, Polk, St. Lucie, Taylor and Volusia counties.

In addition to the deaths at the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills in Broward County, the highest-profile victims have been a Hardee County sheriff's deputy and a state corrections officer.

On Saturday, Gov. Rick Scott attended the funeral in Bradenton for Hardee County Deputy Julie Bridges, a 13-year veteran who died early Sept. 10 in a head-on vehicle collision with Hardee Correctional Institution Sgt. Joseph Ossman.

Ossman, who had been with the Florida Department of Corrections for 21 years, also was killed in the crash, which is under investigation. The two officers are among nine deaths across the state attributed to a blunt-force injury and Irma.

Palm Beach County has reported four deaths, including two due to drowning. The Palm Beach Post reported a woman died Friday in Loxahatchee and that three people were hospitalized after carbon monoxide seeped into a house from a generator set up next to a garage.

Orange County has five deaths linked to the hurricane, including the carbon monoxide deaths of a mother and two teenage children.

Four deaths have been reported in Hillsborough County, through drowning, skull fractures, blood loss and head injuries.

Contact Mary Ellen Klas at [email protected] Follow @MaryEllenKlas

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