HOUSTON – A Houston native tragically lost four members of her family to carbon monoxide poisoning after Hurricane Laura in Lake Charles, Louisiana.
The people who died were all members of a large, tight-knit, Lake Charles family. They rode out the hurricane to care for the family’s ailing matriarch. In the end, they gave their lives for love.
Sheletta Brundidge said four of her family members were found dead and one was seriously hurt from carbon monoxide poisoning after the storm.
“It’s two generations, Phil, who are gone,” Brundidge told KPRC 2 reporter Phil Archer.
Among those dead were her elderly uncle Charles Lewis and his wife Rosa who was the first Black woman letter carrier in the state of Louisiana.
In recent years, suffering from Alzheimer’s and unable to travel, the couple stayed behind to weather the storm at a quiet Lake Charles home with Rosa’s daughter and her husband who were their caretakers. Also in the group was Brundidge’s uncle, Clyde.
After the family survived the monster hurricane that was Laura without any issues, far-flung family members thought the worst was over.
“We just checked in with everybody. Everybody was fine. Everybody was accounted for. A lot of my relatives did evacuate. But they stayed behind because of my Aunt Rosa’s condition,” Brundidge said.
Then last Friday, a terrible discovery was made.
Rosa, her daughter Kimberly and Kimberly’s husband, Chris, along with uncle Clyde Handy were all discovered dead from carbon monoxide poisoning — fumes that spewed from the family’s portable generator. Rosa’s husband Charles was found in critical condition and rushed to the hospital. He was taken off life support Wednesday, Brundidge said.
“The generator was in an attached garage and the wind blew the garage door partially closed and that allowed the fumes to get into the house,” Brundidge said.
The large, loving family is still reeling from their sudden, tragic loss and are holding together through faith, she said.
“It’s devastating. it’s emotionally bankrupting. But because we know God and we have faith and we pray, we know we are going to be OK,” Brundidge said.
Funeral services for the family are scheduled to be held in Lake Charles on Sept. 13.