MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez helped deliver bags of ice to residents of some Miami apartment buildings who have been without power since Saturday after Hurricane Irma.
“We are recuperating well,” Gimenez told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench. “But there are hot spots and this is one of them. We are going to see if they are going to get their power on as soon as possible. We expect it to happen sooner rather than later.”
Gimenez helped deliver the bags of ice secured by the county to apartment buildings near Marlins Park at NW 14th Ave. and 7th St. The city of Miami is involved with a similar effort.
Gimenez said there was progress in the restoration of power.
“The county added 128,000 customers in the last 24 hours and clearing of the roads is going well,” he said.
The bags of ice were delivered one day after the tragedy at the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills where five men and three women died after living in blistering heat after generators failed. Nearly 150 people were evacuated to four Broward hospitals.
“We need to make sure that the elderly who are suffering in any of the facilities have enough ice and are properly hydrated. We also need to think of how we can have laws that mandate emergency power to ALFS, nursing homes and elderly center and that they be equipped to handle weeks of outages,” Gimenez said. “It is expensive but what is a life worth. I am not sure exactly what happened in Hollywood with the heat but the elderly must be protected.”
Residents at the Rivermont House welcomed the delivery of ice. There are 76 housing units there at the facility that houses disabled and elderly people who used to be homeless. They have been without power since 8 a.m. on Saturday and say they have no idea when power will be restored.
Their building is 20 years old and has no generators. There have been some evacuations from that facility but most are staying put. The open windows provide some relief as CBS4 found people fanning themselves in the lobby and cooking meals on a grill.
One resident, Brenda Scheeach, told D’Oench, “It is very, very bad. You got people on three floors. People in wheelchairs and people in walkers. They can’t even come up the stairs with the ice so we have to bring it up to them. It’s extremely hot and for a while you couldn’t even open the doors because the alarms would go off.
“We are very, very grateful for the ice. We need electricity. We need electricity. We would be very grateful for the electricity to be turned on.”
Joann Grimes added, “It’s barbaric. It’s barbaric. It is easier staying outside than staying in. This is terrible. I am a diabetic and I can only eat tidbits. We need a generator here to prevent chaos. They haven’t said when we will get our electricity back.”
Darrell Wooten was asked how he was coping with it.
He responded, “Through Jesus. You have to keep him first. But we are live family here and everyone is trying to help each other out.”