Monday, 28 Sep 2020

4 family members killed by gas fumes after surviving Laura

LAKE CHARLES, La. (AP) — Four members of a Louisiana family were killed and a fifth was critically injured when a generator leaked carbon monoxide into their home, hours after they survived Hurricane Laura’s deadly winds and storm surge.

Rosalie Lewis, 81, decided to shelter with her husband and three other relatives in her Lake Charles home as the Category 4 storm battered the coast in the early hours of Aug. 27, bringing 150-mph (240-kph) winds and a storm surge as high as 15 feet (4.5 meters).

The family was unable to evacuate because of health conditions that made travel difficult, The Advocate quoted family members as saying this week.

The home, which had also withstood Hurricane Rita in 2005, suffered little damage and Rosalie Lewis and her family survived Laura.

14 PHOTOSHurricane LauraSee GalleryHurricane LauraThis GOES-16 GeoColor satellite image taken Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2020, at 2:40 p.m. EDT., and provided by NOAA, shows Hurricane Laura over the Gulf of Mexico. Hurricane Laura strengthened Wednesday into “an extremely dangerous Category 4 hurricane,” The National Hurricane Center said.Laura is expected to strike Wednesday night into Thursday morning along the Louisiana-Texas border. (NOAA via AP)Mark Allums, left, and Hunter Clark watch waves crash ashore as outer bands from Hurricane Laura begin to hit the coast Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2020, in High Island. The two are from Bogata, Texas, near Paris, Texas, and they came to board up windows at a beach house in High Island. ( Jon Shapley/Houston Chronicle via AP)A Cameron Parish Sheriff deputy wipes his face as he mans a roadblock in the rain on LA 27 while residents evacuate Cameron in Lake Charles, La., Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2020, ahead of Hurricane Laura. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)Daoith Porm, left, and Bunsant Khov, right, board their business with Hurricane Laura just hours away, Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2020, in Bridge City, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)A store in low-lying Delcambre, La., is boarded up in advance of Hurricane Laura, Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2020. (AP Photo/Melinda Deslatte)Daoith Porm, left, and Bunsant Khov, right, board their business with Hurricane Laura just hours away, Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2020, in Bridge City, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)Water falls over Jimmy Villarreal, of Galveston, Texas as a wave hits the seawall while he was watching the surf stirred up by Hurricane Laura Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2020 in Galveston, Texas. (Brett Coomer/Houston Chronicle via AP)A picture taken on August 27, 2020 shows a destroyed string of lights swinging in the wind as the eye wall of hurricane Laura passes over in Lake Charles, Louisiana. – Hurricane Laura slammed into the southern US state of Louisiana on August 27 and the monster category 4 storm prompted warnings of “unsurvivable” ocean surges and evacuation orders for hundreds of thousands of Gulf Coast residents. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) said “extremely dangerous” Laura would bring winds of 150 miles per hour (240 kilometers per hour) and “destructive waves will cause catastrophic damage” to Louisiana and Texas. (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP) (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)A man checks debris blown between two cars as hurricane Laura passes over in Lake Charles, Louisiana on August 27, 2020. – Hurricane Laura slammed into the southern US state of Louisiana on August 27 and the monster category 4 storm prompted warnings of “unsurvivable” ocean surges and evacuation orders for hundreds of thousands of Gulf Coast residents. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) said “extremely dangerous” Laura would bring winds of 150 miles per hour (240 kilometers per hour) and “destructive waves will cause catastrophic damage” to Louisiana and Texas. (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP) (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)A single truck is parked in an open lot as heavy rains from hurricane Laura fall in Lake Charles, Louisiana on August 26, 2020. – Hurricane Laura was barreling towards the coast of the southern US states of Louisiana and Texas on August 26 as a monster Category 4 storm, prompting warnings of “unsurvivable” storm surge and evacuation orders for hundreds of thousands of Gulf Coast residents. (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP) (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)Port Arthur firefighters lower a U.S. flag at a post office at sunset as they wait for Hurricane Laura to make landfall, Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2020, in Port Arthur, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)Lake Charles Fire Department personnel Alvin Taylor, right, and Jeremy Harris, left, assist Tim Williams into a transport van as he evacuates Lake Charles, La., Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2020, ahead of Hurricane Laura. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)People talk as waves wash ashore and the outer bands of Hurricane Laura bring winds and rain Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2020, in High Island. ( Jon Shapley/Houston Chronicle via AP)Jordan Razo steps back as a wave, stirred up by the approach of Hurricane Laura, crashes up and over the seawall Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2020 in Galveston, Texas. (Brett Coomer/Houston Chronicle via AP)Up Next

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But emergency crews arrived after the storm passed to find her; her daughter, Kim Evans, 56; her son-in-law, Chris Evans, 61; and her brother, Clyde Handy, 72, dead. A generator placed in the garage filled the home with carbon monoxide during the night, according to authorities and relatives.

They had left the garage door open for ventilation, but winds from the storm likely blew it closed, allowing the poisonous gas to seep into the home, Rosalie’s son, Lyle Lewis, 55, told The Daily Advertiser.

“They made it through the storm and there was a freak accident,” relative Patrick Perry told The Advocate this week.

Rosalie Lewis’ husband, John Lewis Sr., 84, survived and was taken to a hospital in critical condition, relatives said. He remained on life support Wednesday.

Twenty-one deaths in Texas and Louisiana have been attributed to the storm, and nearly half were killed by carbon monoxide poisoning from the unsafe operation of generators, according to authorities.

Rosalie Lewis was a well-known member of her Lake Charles neighborhood and had served as the first Black female postal service supervisor in southwest Louisiana, family members told news outlets. John Lewis Sr. drove trucks for 40 years and Kim Lewis Evans and her husband Chris Evans had been married for 30 years and often cared for her parents. Handy was remembered by relatives as a loving uncle and father figure, The Daily Advertiser said.

A joint funeral service for the family members was set for Sept. 12.

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