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8 die as Florida Keys are ravaged almost beyond recognition by Hurricane Irma

Mike Clary, Sun Sentinel on

Published in News & Features

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Eight people are known to have died in the Florida Keys during or because of Hurricane Irma, authorities said Wednesday.

Two people died in Key West; the other six in other parts of Monroe County.

"The deaths are both storm-related and due to natural causes," said Cammy Clark, the county's public information officer.

Also, 40 people were injured during the storm.

Irma ripped through Cudjoe and Big Pine with end-of-the-world fury, destroying homes big and small.

Trailers were shredded, ocean waters rushed through the ground floor of beachside houses and RVs were overturned, leaving much of the area ravaged almost beyond recognition.

"It's been a nightmare," said Mark Lum, 57, who rode out the powerful storm on Cudjoe Key, huddled with his dog Cruzan inside a concrete bunkerlike bath house in the Venture Out development. "You live here in a resort, everything's nice and pretty, and the next day it's all gone."

Hurricane Irma has destroyed a quarter of the homes in the Florida Keys and badly damaged many more, federal officials said Tuesday.

"Basically every house in the Keys was impacted in some way or another," Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Brock Long said.

The storm is blamed for 13 deaths in Florida, four in South Carolina, two in Georgia and at least 37 people in the Caribbean.

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