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In that same waiting room, 50-year-old Reginald Mouton was hoping he could at least retrieve an essential piece of medical equipment and avoid a second sleepless night. Mr. Mouton uses a machine to help control his sleep apnea, a disorder that causes pauses in breathing while people sleep.

Police had given him about 15 to 20 minutes to pack a bag when his neighborhood was evacuated, and he forgot the device. Nonetheless, he was grateful his home was not seriously damaged.

“I’m very fortunate. We as a community are very fortunate,” he said. “It could have been a lot worse.”