(KSLA) — Louisiana has recorded at least one death related to Hurricane Delta.
Gov. John Bel Edwards confirmed Sunday afternoon that an 86-year-old St. Martin Parish man died in a fire after he allegedly refueled a generator while it was still hot.
And the state fire marshal’s office later said another fatal fire possibly also is storm-related.
The Louisiana Health Department later confirmed that both deaths are related to Hurricane Delta.
“This will bring the number of storm-related deaths due to Hurricane Delta to 2 at this time. Deaths are determined to be storm-related by the local coroner.”
On Saturday, members of the Cade Volunteer Fire Department found the 86-year-old homeowner’s body in a large shed on his property in the 1700 block of Smede Highway in St. Martinville about 10:45 p.m., the Louisiana fire marshal’s office reports.
“At this time, investigators have learned the homeowner had a running generator placed in the shed,” says a post on the fire marshal’s Facebook page. “When he discovered it was out of fuel, it is believed he refueled the equipment while still hot.”
Shortly afterward, he discovered the shed was on fire.
“It is believed the homeowner went into the shed in an attempt to put out the fire but never re-emerged.”
About nine hours later, a woman in her 70s died in a house fire in neighboring Iberia Parish.
A man, also in his 70s, was seriously burned in the fire that was reported just before 8 a.m. Sunday in the the 200 block of Lost Lake Lane in New Iberia.
Deputy fire marshals learned from witnesses that there was an explosion after the woman lit a cigarette.
“At this time, investigators believe a natural gas leak was active surrounding the home, possibly due to damage to the home from Hurricane Delta, and that may have contributed to the reaction with the ignition of the cigarette. However, the investigation is ongoing,” the state fire marshal’s office reports.
“It is important to note this death has not yet been confirmed as a storm-related death,” says a post on the fire marshal’s Facebook page.
The fire marshal’s office also reiterated three main generator safety tips that is has been stressing since Hurricane Laura struck:
- Never place a generator in of a structure,
- Don’t put a generator near open doors and/windows (20 feet away from the home is ideal), and,
- Never refuel a generator while it still is hot.