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Crews respond to calls for water rescues after floods sweep victims away

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(Photo: Rob Low)

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DENVER -- The water levels of Denver's creeks and rivers rose dangerously high after severe thunderstorms on Wednesday reportedly swept some away with the current.

Denver Fire said it had been inundated with water rescue calls Wednesday afternoon. They said they responded to every call with urgency to assess situations across the metro area.

One of the most severe response calls they received was reported at 5:30 p.m. after reports that a person was swept away in Cherry Creek, the body last spotted at Champa and Speer. Swift water rescue teams went into the water at Confluence Park near the REI, but were unable to find anybody.

On another call, police responded to reports that someone had fallen into the South Platte River near Colfax Avenue and Speer Boulevard with another sighting of possibly the same victim at 32nd Street and Arkins Court.

Firefighters at 58th Avenue and York Street were waiting for a body to show up in the South Platte River, but said that even if they could spot one, they wouldn't be able to enter the river due to how fast it was flowing.

However, firefighters said they would find a safe spot on the river to perform a rescue if they made a positive sighting.

"Regardless of the environment that we have now, we will sacrifice a lot to save a lot," said Captain Greg Pixley with Denver Fire.

Pixley said that they had missed the golden hour of opportunity to rescue and save an individual before they drowned, and the mission became one of recovery.

Firefighters gave up their search around 8 p.m. for the evening and said that it would be unlikely that if someone did fall in the river, that they would be found that night.

A flash flood warning was in effect from 5:30 p.m. to 10:15 p.m. for Denver, Adams and Arapahoe counties.

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