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Flash flooding claims another life

By Emily Allen, Multimedia Journalist /Target 13 Investigator , emily.allen@krdo.com
Published On: Sep 12 2013 04:11:51 PM CDT

Mother Nature flexed her muscle and turned Fountain Creek into a Roaring River overnight, leaving a man dead early Thursday morning.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -

Mother Nature flexed her muscle and turned Fountain Creek into a roaring river overnight, leaving a man dead early Thursday morning.

Police found the man's body in Fountain Creek near the bridge on Nevada Avenue near Interstate 25 in Colorado Springs.

It's been exactly one month since flash flooding killed a Colorado Springs teen. A 53-year-old man was in killed in a flash flood on Highway 24 in early August.

A police officer patrolling the area near Fountain Creek found the body around 4:15 a.m.  The officer reported over the police scanner, "I'm on top of the bridge.  He's in the water, stuck in the trees.  He's not responding."

Colorado Springs Fire Department's heavy rescue was called to recover the body from the creek. Its team braved the raging water to pull the body from creek just before 5 a.m.

"Unfortunately we lost one of our citizens this evening," said Lt. Scott Reiman with the heavy rescue team.

Reiman said it was a busy night for his team and police as they rescued people in dangerous situations brought on by the flash floods.

"The downpour started late afternoon yesterday and culminated with the heavy flows in our rivers and streams tonight. Fortunately, we had a number of people in their vehicles that got rescued, an RV park that got evacuated. Unfortunately, we lost one of our citizens," said Reiman.

Reiman said the man was in his 50S. Information has not been released about his name or the reason why the man was near the creek bed early Thursday.

The water was flowing at 5,000 cubic feet per second when the body was pulled from the creek. One firefighter described a cubic foot as equivalent a basketball so the water passing under the bridge could be visualized as 5,000 basketballs passing through each second.

"The water was all the way up to the bridge, pushing against the bridge. That's probably a 15- to 20-foot depth," said Reiman.

There was another close call upstream in Fountain Creek near the bridge on Tejon Street near I-25. Police rescued a homeless man caught off guard by the creek's high water around 3:30 a.m. The man was okay and was not taken to the hospital.

Police keep a close eye on areas in flood plains during heavy rain. There is a significant homeless population living near Nevada and I-25. The creek's banks are a popular campground for homeless people.

Officers with Colorado Springs K-9 Unit walked the area around the creek around 7:30 a.m. to make sure other people were not swept away in rushing water. Officers said they did not have any other missing persons reports and their trek was standard procedure after heavy rain. Officers spoke with homeless people camping near the water.

We tell them to keep moving, it's very dangerous, and last night was a great example of how fast the water can rise," said Sgt. Brian Cummings.

Joe Taylor camps along the creek bed. He said his former addiction to drugs and alcohol eventually left him homeless. He's called his camp along Fountain Creek home for 2 years. The creek washed away his tent, and almost took him and his dog with it.

"I felt the tent start going this direction," said Taylor pointed to the creek from his spot on a higher bank. "I said, 'OK, Blue, it's time to go.'"

Police are asking people like Taylor to move away from the creek bed. They don't want to see another life swept downstream.

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