BATON ROUGE, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Gov. John Bel Edwards confirmed the first storm-related death following Hurricane Delta on Sunday.
During his briefing Sunday afternoon, the governor said an 86-year-old St. Martin man passed away from a fire believed to have been sparked by a generator kept in a shed that had not been allowed to cool off before the man refueled it.
“So I ask you to join me in praying for his family and also ask everyone to exercise extreme caution when dealing with generators, both where they’re placed and how they are refueled,” Edwards said.
It’s a stark reminder that the threat from these storms does not pass once the storms are gone. Most of the 32 deaths came in the days following Laura were the result of heat-related illness, carbon monoxide poisoning and fires caused by generators, and traumatic incidents while working on roofs and clearing debris.
The governor also announced significant progress in restoring power following the storm, now down to 348,000 from a peak of 680,000.
Edwards hosted a Unified Command Group meeting before the briefing about the state’s response to Hurricane Delta. The governor is expected to travel to Allen and Evangeline parishes to meet with local officials following the briefing.
Edwards joined state and local officials Saturday to survey areas heavily damaged by Hurricane Delta including communities still struggling to recover from Hurricane Laura.
“We have tens of thousands of Louisianans today who are hurting,” Edwards said during an afternoon news conference in Jennings. “We need to lift them up in both in prayer but also by our deeds.”
Edwards said Hurricane Delta may not have been as powerful as Hurricane Laura, which hit the same area six weeks ago, but it was much bigger and still caused significant damage.
Delta made landfall as a Category 2 storm around 6 p.m. Friday evening in southwest Louisiana near Creole, only about 12 miles east of where Hurricane Laura struck in late August. The storm packed top winds of 100 mph (155 kph).