BROWARD COUNTY, Fla. -- Three nurses and a fourth employee at the Hollywood Hills rehab facility in Broward County turned themselves over to authorities just hours ago.
Experts say they expect manslaughter charges.
Patients started dying when Hurricane Irma knocked out power in September 2017, causing temperatures to rise to fatal levels.
The center did not evacuate patients despite there being a hospital right across the street.
But one defense attorney tonight is calling his client a scapegoat and claims the state is looking to place blame.
After that case broke, the ABC Action News I-Team started digging into other nursing homes around Florida and here in the Tampa Bay area.
We found many facilities were not in compliance with regulations.
The investigation ran last month, but there are still more than 200 elder care facilities in the Tampa Bay area that don't have the equipment to keep residents cool during the next big storm.
New state numbers show only a slight improvement in our area -- with 78 facilities submitting new plans to install generators since July.
In 2018, state lawmakers ordered elder care facilities to install generators with enough fuel to keep residents cool for at least four days -- or face fines.
But the I-Team uncovered local facilities avoided those fines by receiving state-approved extensions -- blaming installation delays or financial hardships.
As of Monday, 122 nursing homes and 85 assisted living facilities in the Bay area don't have approved, permanent generators in place.
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