Cat sitter dies after suburban Denver basement floods

A woman died after rain from the latest round of strong Colorado storms flooded the suburban Denver basement apartment she was staying in to take care of a friend's cat, police said Wednesday.

People who live upstairs in the Englewood home called police Tuesday because they were concerned about their neighbor in the basement unit, police spokesman Chad Read said. The neighbor was not at home but officers found Rachael Marie Haber, 32, after searching in the murky water that reached up to the ceiling. No one else was in the unit.

Haber was unresponsive and taken to the hospital, where she died Wednesday morning.

The coroner said an autopsy showed injuries consistent with drowning, but further tests on how she died were still pending.

Read told The Denver Post the water in the neighborhood was knee-high when officers arrived.

"There was water in the front yards, backyards and a car actually floated down part of the street and ended up in front of the house," he said.

The rain also caused a sinkhole to open in nearby Sheridan, swallowing a vehicle, but the driver was able to get out in time. The muddy and mangled Toyota RAV4 was pulled from the hole on Wednesday.

In southwestern Colorado, water and debris closed roads near an area burned by a large wildfire north of Durango. The flooding stopped the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, leading about 800 passengers to be bused back to Durango, The Durango Herald reported.

Another sinkhole opened earlier Tuesday south of Colorado Springs after flooding washed out a culvert following heavy rain there on Monday.

A vehicle fell into the culvert and when the Hanover Fire Department responded to the cave-in, their fire truck also fell into the hole. Both vehicles were removed early Tuesday morning.

Two firefighters and the driver of the first vehicle were taken to the hospital.