Swiftwater rescue after Dillon Road washed out between Lafayette and Broomfield

LAFAYETTE, Colo. - Three vehicles were swallowed early Thursday when floodwaters undercut Dillon Road near Highway 287, between Lafayette and Broomfield.

The situation was first reported with a 911 call at 5:58 a.m. Rescuers from the North Metro and Lafayette Fire Departments were dispatched and found three vehicles partially submerged.

"We were able to use ropes to stabilize the cars first," Sara Farris, North Metro Fire Rescue spokeswoman, explained.

Water rushed over and through all of the vehicles. One vehicle, a silver sedan, fully overturned in the water.

Roy Ortiz was trapped in that overturned car for some time before he was rescued.

"He tried to open his back door and he got it open but the other truck hit the back of his car and pulled him into the water," said Ortiz's son, Manuel. "All he could do was, he found a pocket of air and he was just sitting there, breathing into that pocket of air until the dive team could get to him."

Ortiz is an inventory supervisor and a preacher, his family said.

"He was pretty scared but he said whatever God's will would be, he was ready," Manuel Ortiz said. "It's a miracle, I think. God saved him."

One victim was able to escape from his vehicle and scramble up the bank. Another victim was inside a vehicle that had to be flipped upright before rescuers could get him out.

The three drivers were taken to local hospitals for treatment.

"They each had minor injuries," Farris said.

North Metro Fire crews were working with Xcel Energy to monitor the gas line running across the creek. Crews were still trying to figure out how to remove one of the vehicles, a silver truck that became lodged under the exposed natural gas line.

Surrounding businesses have been evacuated as Xcel crews work to lower the pressure going through that gas line.

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