Kids found after reportedly playing in Colorado Springs sewers

Published: Aug. 7, 2017 at 5:11 PM MDT
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A search operation was underway in north Colorado Springs Monday evening for two kids.

At about 4 p.m., crews were called to an area near Old North Gate Boulevard at Pride Mountain Drive on a report that two kids were playing in a storm drain. The neighborhood is south of Northgate Road.

"A resident heard some voices coming from the storm drain," said Colorado Springs Fire Department spokesperson Capt. Steve Wilch. "She made contact with a couple boys and said, 'Hey boys, that's dangerous, you should get out of there and go back where you came from, and it's raining, it's dangerous.'"

While Wilch said the boys did heed her warning and turn around, firefighters still had to put themselves in harm's way to make sure they had indeed gotten out.

"In that interim between the report of them being in there and us confirming that no one was in there, we had to put firefighters' lives at risk by putting them in a storm water system while it's raining," Wilch said.

According to Wilch, it's not just rain in the immediate area that makes storm water drains so dangerous.

"When it's raining up range, so when it's raining miles from here, it will accumulate in the storm water system and it will build. That water comes with a great force -- it will knock you off your feet, you will drown, it will take your life.

"Firefighters are not equipped to go into the storm water system as well. It would take anybody and put them in peril."

Wilch described the sewer system as a series of pipes that become narrower as you go along.

"The point where they entered, they were able to walk in standing. At some point, it's going to get narrower, so they're going to need to get down on their knees. The pipe dimension is going to change, so you never know what you're going to get down in that system. At one point you're standing, at another point, you're crawling."

The boys were located about one hour later. They had been able to get out of the sewers themselves, Wilch said.

"We want people to understand it's not a playground. Don't go into the storm water system. If we have to in after you, it risks both yourself and firefighter's lives."