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A Family Made It Through the Storm. They Died Hours Later

Slew of generator-caused carbon monoxide deaths in Louisiana, Texas after Hurricane Laura
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 1, 2020 12:29 PM CDT

(Newser) – The death toll from Hurricane Laura has now reached the double digits, and in Louisiana, one family took an especially hard hit. Per the Advocate, the state's health department reports a family of four in Lake Charles succumbed to carbon monoxide poisoning, with Lake Charles Fire Chief Shawn Caldwell noting they'd set up a generator in an attached garage after losing power, leaving a door leading into the home partly ajar. Caldwell says there were actually five people in the home who died, though a rep for the health department says the coroner only informed it of four deaths from carbon monoxide. BuzzFeed IDs the family as that of 81-year-old Rosalie Lewis, said to be the first Black female USPS supervisor in Louisiana history.

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Even though their house made it through the storm itself on Thursday, the family members were dead just "hours later" from the generator fumes. The outlet reports Lewis' husband, John Lewis, also died, as did the couple's only daughter, Kim Lewis Evans; Evans' husband, Chris Evans; and Clyde Handy, Rosalie Lewis' brother. At least a dozen people have died in Louisiana as a result of the storm, many of them from carbon monoxide poisoning; meanwhile, three people are reported to have died in Texas of the same cause, per Fox News. On Friday, Caldwell warned people to keep generators far from the main residence. "Don't put it anywhere near a covered awning, a porch, a garage," he said. "Chain it to a tree if there's one left out in the yard. But don't let a generator cost you your life." (Read more carbon monoxide stories.)

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