PUEBLO, Colo. — The body of a firefighter with the Quincy Fire Department was recovered Monday after a rafting accident on the Arkansas River.
The body of Steve Pezzella was recovered after he lost contact with the boat he was in and tried to swim through a rapid.
Pezzella, 37, was hired by QFD in July 2008. He was a firefighter on first shift. He was certified as a firefighter III, apparatus engineer in hazardous materials operations and an EMT-paramedic as well as a member of the Technical Rescue Team.
The incident occurred mid-afternoon Monday in the Royal Gorge, west of Cañon City, when a private boat, on a two boat trip with three people aboard flipped in the Arkansas River’s Sunshine Rapid. The victim lost contact with the boat and tried to swim through a rapid known as Sledge Hammer.
“The victim was pulled from the water downstream and commercial rafting guides who were in the same area assisted the private trip and started live-saving CPR and deployed an automated external defibrillator (AED) until Emergency Medical Technicians arrived and took over efforts,” according to a Colorado Parks and Wildlife news release.
However, the victim was not revived and was pronounced deceased before CPW Rangers arrived.
Pezzella leaves behind a wife and two daughters. His wife, Emily, is a Crime Scene Technician with the Quincy Police Department. Grave side service, Friday June 17, 20212 at 1pm at Queen of Heaven Catholic Cemetery.