3 die in Orange County while preparing for hurricane

Orange County
JOE BURBANK/ORLANDO SENTINEL/TNS
Guests leave the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World after the park closed early due to weather spawned by Hurricane Dorian on Sept. 3.

BY STEPHEN HUDAK
ORLANDO SENTINEL/TNS

ORLANDO – Hurricane Dorian is blamed for three Orange County deaths, though the tropical cyclone never officially made it here. 

The deaths Monday included a man who had evacuated to a Disney resort with his family from a nearby city because of Dorian, officials said Wednesday. 

Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings reported the other two deaths Wednesday at his final storm briefing at the county’s emergency operations center. All three victims were listed as hurricane-related. 

As part of its public health response to hurricanes, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention collects data on hurricane-related deaths.

Deputies responded to Disney’s Art of Animation Resort at 4:43 p.m., according to Orange County spokeswoman Jane Watrel. The Reedy Creek Fire Department transported the man to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead. 

Accident, heart attack

Dr. Joshua Stephany, medical examiner for Orange and Osceola counties, determined the deaths to be hurricane-related but couldn’t immediately provide details. 

Watrel said the death at Disney was recorded as hurricane-related because it met CDC guidelines for inclusion. 

The other two victims were making hurricane preparations, officials said. 

An Ocoee man, 55, died after he fell 15 feet from a tree while trying to cut branches with a chainsaw at his home, an Ocoee firefighter said. 

A 62-year-old man apparently died from a heart attack while making hurricane preparations at his home. 

Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings briefs county residents on the status of Hurricane Dorian during a press conference at the Orange County Administration building on Aug. 30.

Total deaths 

Orange County sheriff’s deputies were summoned to the home about 8 p.m. after a family member found the man dead in the yard.

Neither victim was identified

“For those families, our prayers certainly go out to them for the loss of their loved ones,” said Demings, who was sheriff for a decade before he was elected mayor. 

Dorian also was blamed for at least seven deaths in the northern Bahamas, including an 8-year-old boy. 

According to the CDC, Hurricane Irma in 2017 was blamed for 129 deaths, including 123 in Florida. 

The data showed about 70% of the victims were male and the median age was 63. 

Only 11 were directly related to the hurricane. 

‘Ravaged wastelands’ 

CDC records show 46 people died as a result of “exacerbation of an existing medical condition,” including 23 linked to chronic health problems like cardiac disease.

Dorian was a Category 5 hurricane Sunday when it slammed into the Bahamas, pulverizing thousands of properties. 

News reports described wide swaths of the Grand Bahama island as “ravaged wastelands.” The resort city of Freeport is located on the island. 

Dorian later turned north, weakened to a Category 2 storm with sustained winds of 110 mph and stayed far east of Central Florida, sparing the region calamity. 

The storm’s outer bands brought about 2 inches of rain to the area overnight. The top recorded speed here was 37 mph at a fire station, Demings said.

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