Rachael Haber stopped by the home of a friend who was out of town to check on the woman’s pet cat, but the 32-year-old woman was killed after being trapped in what authorities are calling a once-in-a-century storm.
Haber was killed in what authorities in Colorado are calling a freak accident, as a torrential rainstorm flooded the woman’s basement, trapping Haber and causing her to drown. As the Associated Press reported, the rain that swept across Colorado was described as a 100-year event, dumping nearly 2.5 inches of rain in just 30 minutes.
Haber’s body was found in the basement of the home in Englewood, where water had quickly reached nearly to the ceiling. She was taken to a hospital but was pronounced dead the next day. Authorities said her death appeared consistent with drowning.
Police said they were lucky to find Haber, and had the help of a police officer who is nearly seven feet tall who could reach through the deep waters to find the woman’s body.
“If it wasn’t for him, they probably never would have gotten her out,” Chad Read, Englewood police spokesman, told the Denver Post. “He’s just reaching through the water because they had information that someone was in there.”
Family members said they were shocked at Haber’s death.
“I’m sure she was down there trying to take care of the cat and get the cat out,” her husband, Sean Haber, told the Associated Press.
The rainstorm that struck the area was intense and unexpected. As the official Denver tourism website noted, the area can sometimes receive less than 10 inches of rain for the entire year. Authorities said this week’s storm remained directly over the area until the rain cooled the region enough for winds to move it along.
Authorities said the storm struck so quickly and dropped rain so intensely that it caused destruction across the small swath where it struck. The storm was so localized that some areas of Denver didn’t receive any rain at all.
“Rachael stopped by my house to feed my cat last night while I’m gone. She was such a sweetheart.” Best friend of Englewood flash flood victim tells me Rachael Haber was trapped and screaming as rushing water filled the basement on Acoma Street. @KDVR pic.twitter.com/lMIh9qdfIg
— Kristin Haubrich (@KristinHaubrich) July 25, 2018
“There was water in the front yards, backyards, and a car actually floated down part of the street that ended up in front of the house,” Read said. “The water was extremely high.”
Rachael Haber was described as best friends with Kembra Allen, the woman who lived in the home and was visiting family in California at the time of the tragic accident. Allen’s black-and-white cat was also killed in the freak flooding.