Rescuing a mother and her six-year-old daughter in a freak storm in Denver was all in a day's work for contractor, Merle Cordova.
Cordova, who worked a submarine hunter for the United States Navy from 1998-2002, was rushing to a job from Home Depot on Monday at about 3 p.m. when he turned a corner in a residential neighborhood and hit a wall of hail. "It was a complete white out," he told Yahoo Shine. "I couldn't hear anything because of the noise." He pulled out his phone to start filming for a friend who does hail repair and placed it on his dashboard-the video continued to run capturing the frightening events that followed.
Through the hail, he could make out a Nissan Versa stranded in the middle of the street. "The windows were fogged up," he said, "I couldn't see inside." There were two feet of hail on the ground already and the storm drain had clogged up with debris so the water was rising rapidly. The temperature had dropped from about 75 degrees to 39 degrees in a matter of minutes.
Suddenly, Stephanie Liddick, 25, and her daughter, McKenna, clamored out of the car. Liddick managed to boost McKenna onto the roof while she stood precariously on the window frame.
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Cordova says he didn't hesitate to act. "What you can't see is that there is a reservoir down a hill which all the water flows into when it floods. The only thing that was between them and the lake was one house." Cordova jumped out of his truck, unhitched the trailer, and backed up to the car so they could all hang onto the rear bed if necessary. He managed to grab mom and daughter and pull them into the truck. Within seconds, his cab was flooded with a foot of icy water.
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"They were wearing summer clothes," said Cordova. "The girl was screaming bloody murder even when I got her into the cab and told her everything was going to be ok. Her mom was completely in shock."
"It was hailing, my feet got hurt, my whole body got hurt," McKenna told KDVR the next day.
Cordova dropped the mother and daughter at a nearby school to get dry and warm up, and he returned to the scene to tow their car out of danger. He then headed out to a building job in his same wet clothes."I had to get to work," he said.
While there were other people watching the hail storm and flood and taking videos, Cordova carried out the rescue solo. "He risked his pretty, pretty truck and himself," Liddick told KDVR. "Not everybody would do it, because nobody else did." Mckenna added, "He's my best hero I ever had."
"It was instinct," he said. "I had a truck, and I'd like to assume that other people would have done the same thing."
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