Kembra Allen told Denver7 that before her friend lost her life, Rachael Marie Haber had stopped by her apartment near Denver, Colorado, to take care of her cat.
It was a Tuesday night, and during that time, the National Weather Service was posting on Twitter that severe storms would pummel the south Denver metropolitan area.
As a result of the storms, the Red Cross of Colorado tweeted it was helping five families whose homes flooded and lost power.
But by Wednesday, Allen learned her friend had died.
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The Arapahoe County Coroner’s Office told Denver7 the likely cause of Haber’s death was drowning, though tests were still pending.
During the time Haber was at her friend’s Englewood apartment, located in a basement, the National Weather Service had issued a severe thunderstorm warning and a flash flood warning for the area.
“Storm will produce 1.5 to 2 inches of rain in just 30 minutes. Stay away from low lying areas! If you encounter flooded roads – TURN AROUND, DON’T DROWN!!!” the weather service wrote on Twitter at 6:43 p.m. Tuesday.
But sometime after 6:45 p.m., Englewood police found Haber in the water that flooded Allen’s basement unit, the Denver Post reported.
At that point, the water inside the basement apartment reached as high as the ceiling, police told The Associated Press.
A neighbor, Cindy Hartman, told the Littleton Independent she had called 911 after she heard someone screaming for help and pounding on a door from the basement unit.
Hartman later told Denver7 she had went downstairs to help, but the water was too high.
“The water was so cold, so quickly, I knew I couldn’t stay,” Hartman said in an interview with the Independent “I just prayed they could get here fast enough.”
The person in the basement — later identified as 32-year-old Haber — was taken to a hospital where she was pronounced dead Wednesday, The Associated Press reported.
“It’s an absolutely tragic thing that happened,” Chad Read, an Englewood police spokesman, told the Denver Post. “It’s unusual. That water rushed in there so quickly. I don’t know how or why she got stuck inside.”
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Haber’s mother, who was not identified in Denver7’s report, said her daughter was a married woman who worked as a pharmacy specialist for a hospital.
Allen’s cat, named “Samson,” also died in the flood, according to a Facebook post Allen made Tuesday night.
A GoFundMe page was created Wednesday by Allen’s brother, Jordan Allen, to help his sister find a new home and replace belongings damaged in the flood. Since then, more than $2,900 has been raised.
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Family rescued after taking shelter from flood waters on roof of house for eight hours
An Overland Park family climbed to the roof of their house near the Blue River last month to escape flood waters that surrounded their home. Private citizens with a large truck rescued the family after they had been on the roof for eight hours.
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