Nursing, group homes left without power in Brevard County

Loved ones worry about lack of air conditioning

By Matt Petrillo - Reporter

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. - After living without air conditioning since Monday, 71-year-old Elaine Carrol packed up her things and headed to a family member's house on Wednesday.

She's among more than a dozen patients with disabilities who left the Woodsmere group home in Rockledge because it has not had air conditioning for three days, which has left loved ones worried.

"That's scary, that's scary," said Carrol's sister-in-law, Linda Carrol, speaking of the eight people who died in a South Florida nursing home because of a lack of air conditioning. "It's frightening that they could perish as a result of the storm because of no AC."

Woodsmere CEO David Cook took News 6 inside the facility, where, with no power or air conditioning, it quickly feels hot and uncomfortable.

We asked Cook why there is not a generator big enough to power the facility for a couple of days.

"A good question, and our generator is good for a day or two," he said.

Woodsmere does have a small generator -- but it's used to power a freezer and some fans inside the building and is not strong enough to power the building's air conditioning.

Cook said the facility is now considering having a bigger generator ahead of the next big storm. Cook also wants state leaders to work with electric companies to prioritize nursing homes and group homes if a storm knocks out the power. 

Meanwhile, the air is finally back on at the Opis Indian River Center, a nursing home in West Melbourne. But patients' family members tell us it didn't start fully running until Wednesday afternoon.

"If you're gonna arrest a person for locking their child and their dog in a car, then you're gonna be responsible for an elderly person," said a family member, who didn't want to be identified.

News 6 wanted to know if Opis had a generator strong enough to power the building. We talked to a manager who told us someone would get back to us. They never did.

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