2017-09-13 / National News

Irma claims dozens of lives across Caribbean, United States


The scope and scale of misery caused by Irma continues to grow, including its human toll. Irma, at one point the most powerful hurricane ever recorded in the open Atlantic, has claimed the lives of dozens of people across the Caribbean and southeastern United States.

Victims include two women in Havana who died when a balcony fell on a bus in which they were riding. A Florida jailhouse guard and sheriff's deputy died after their vehicles collided. A 2-year-old child on Barbuda died when his body was swept away after his home's roof ripped off and the structure filled with water. A Barbados teen died while surfing as the massive hurricane churned hundreds of miles away.

Here are brief portraits of some of Irma’s victims:



Nancy Eason, 67, Forsyth County

Eason, a retired court reporter, died Monday after a large tree fell on a vehicle in a private driveway, sheriff's officials said.

The fallen tree trapped Eason and her husband, Mike Eason, who suffered minor injuries.

Nancy Eason worked for the Forsyth and Cherokee county judicial systems for many years. Mike Eason is a retired Georgia Bureau of Investigation special agent and served as chief of the Cumming Police Department from 2005 to 2009.


Charles Saxon, 57, Calhoun Falls

Saxon died Monday after being struck by a tree limb as he was cleaning up limbs and debris outside his home, according to Abbeville County Coroner Ronnie Ashley.

An autopsy is planned for Saxon, who died at the scene.

Officials say it's the first reported death in the state related to Irma.

William McBride, 54, Sumter County

McBride was pronounced dead Tuesday after he was found lifeless at his mobile home, where a generator was running inside, according to Sumter County Coroner Robert Baker Jr.

Baker says McBride died from carbon monoxide poisoning. McBride’s sons found him at the home Tuesday morning, and the coroner said he had several appliances plugged into the generator, with only a single window cracked for ventilation.

Arthur Strudwick, 48, Columbia

Strudwick, a city Public Works Department employee, was on his way to help with a downed tree Monday night when he crashed his vehicle, according to Columbia City Manager Teresa Wilson.

Police said it appears Strudwick lost control of his pickup truck and went off the road, striking a tree during windy and rainy conditions. He was pronounced dead at a hospital.or

Wilson said the city’s flags will be lowered to honor Strudwick, who worked for the department’s forestry division.



Carl Junior Francis, 2

Carl, who had just turned 2 on Aug. 17, was swept to his death after the storm ripped the roof off the family's house and water came in. The child's mother, Stevet Jeremiah, fled with her husband and Carl's 4-year-old brother but was unable to save the toddler.

“Where they were staying, the roof (was) blown off from the house and then water started getting in the house,” said Sgt. James Thomas, second in command at the Barbuda police station. “They were trying to get out of the house when apparently the child got loose and got trapped in the water.”

The child’s body was later taken to the nearby island of Antigua for an autopsy.

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