'We can’t lose our momentum:' Louisiana vows to rebuild

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Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Soncia King holds onto her husband Patrick King in Lake Charles, La., Saturday, Oct. 10, 2020, as they walk through the flooded street to their home, after Hurricane Delta moved through on Friday. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

LAKE CHARLES, La. – Back-to-back hurricanes in the space of six weeks left parts of Louisiana blanketed Sunday with tarpaulins, mangled metal and downed power lines — but not necessarily despair.

Utility crews fanned out across the battered southwestern part of the state to restore electricity in the wake of Hurricane Delta, and residents began returning home along roads lined with debris and houses missing roofs. Some were grateful that the damage was not as bad as it could have been.

A 70-year-old woman in Iberia Parish died in a fire likely caused by a natural gas leak following damage from Hurricane Delta, the Louisiana Department of Health said Sunday.

Louisiana officials also blamed the death of an 86-year-old man on the hurricane. The St. Martin Parish resident died in a fire that erupted after he refueled a generator in a shed, Gov. John Bel Edwards said. He said it didn’t appear the generator had cooled down before the man refilled it.

A third storm-related death was reported in Florida, where a 19-year-old tourist from Illinois drowned after getting caught in a rip current caused by the storm off Destin, authorities said.

Roughly 350,000 customers in Louisiana remained without power two days after Delta blew ashore near the town of Creole with winds of 100 mph (155 kph), slamming a part of the state still recovering from Hurricane Laura's 150 mph (241 kph) onslaught on Aug. 27. Laura was blamed for 32 deaths, many of them caused in the storm's aftermath by carbon monoxide poisoning from generators.

The remnants of Delta, meanwhile, dumped heavy rain on parts of Georgia, the Carolinas and Virginia.

The storm was also blamed for washing out a railroad track and causing the derailment of a freight train in the Atlanta area that sparked a small fire and briefly forced some residents from their homes. Two crew members were taken to a hospital for observation and later released.