Five family members killed by gas fumes after surviving Laura

LAKE CHARLES, LOUISIANA (AP) — Five members of a Louisiana family have died after 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 last Sunday, bringing 240km/h winds and a storm surge as high as 4.5 metres.

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.

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 Charles Lewis Sr, 84, survived and was taken to a hospital in critical condition, relatives said. He was on life support on Wednesday, but died yesterday, his son, Lyle Lewis, confirmed to The Associated Press.