Firefighter's Body Found in Colo.

Friday, August 18th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

DENVER (AP) — A city firefighter died when he was swept away by floodwaters while rescuing motorists stranded after a torrential downpour.

Robert Crump, 37, disappeared at about 5:45 p.m. Thursday after he and a second firefighter rescued a woman whose car had stalled in high water. His body was recovered at about 11 p.m., said Mark Watson, a spokesman for the Denver Fire Department.

Both firefighters were caught in a whirlpool. The second firefighter escaped, but Crump was sucked into a culvert, officials said.

``Given the option between their life and somebody else's life, they (firefighters) would take great measures to make sure the other person would live first,'' Fire Chief Rich Gonzales said.

The firefighters had been searching for passengers in flood-stalled cars at an intersection when they were swept away, Watson said.

Crump, a firefighter since 1997, is survived by a wife and three daughters, ages 9, 11 and 13.

The storm swept into the Denver area after 3 p.m. and dropped 1.57 inches of rain in Denver and 2.64 inches in Commerce City. Other areas received between a half an inch to 1.5 inches.

Power failures across the metro area left between 16,000 and 24,000 people without electricity, said Mark Salley, a spokesman for Public Service Company of Colorado.

Power was restored to all but about 6,000 customers by about 9 p.m.

The storm caused 20- to 30-minute flight delays at Denver International Airport but no cancellations were reported, airport spokesman Dan Melfi said.