Utah Fire Captain, And Ground Zero First Responder, Dies In Rafting Accident At Dinosaur National Monument
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Utah Fire Captain, And Ground Zero First Responder, Dies In Rafting Accident At Dinosaur National Monument

A Utah fire captain and Ground Zero first responder has died. The firefighter passed away following an accident while rafting at Dinosaur National Monument in Colorado.

Michael Harp, 54, worked for 27 years with the Salt Lake City Fire Department. Following 9/11, Harp was one of many firefighters who went to Ground Zero to help with cleanup and recovery. The fire captain went with a group on a private permitted rafting trip. They planned to raft down Green River in the Canyon of Lodore around 4 p.m. last Thursday. Unfortunately, that's when the incident occurred. Their raft became trapped in the rapids on a rock. It happened at a part of the river called Hells Half Mile.

Harp disappeared after the incident. Staff believed he became pinned under the raft after it capsized. The group managed to dislodge the boat from the raft. However, Harp was unresponsive by that time. He drifted downriver following the incident, losing his life jacket after the raft capsized. In response, River Patrol Rangers searched for him. On Friday, they managed to locate Harp's body. It had floated 10 miles down river. They airlifted his body to the Moffat County coroner.

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A native of Sandy, Utah, the fire captain was a second-generation firefighter following in his father's footsteps. His department mourned the tragedy following the devastating accident. "Captain Michael Harp dedicated his life to the service of not only the citizens of Salt Lake City, but also his fellow firefighters," the department wrote. "His legacy of service, leadership, compassion, and contagious laughter will forever be remembered by all who knew him."

Fire Captain Dies

Following his passing, several people mourned the fire captain. One wrote, "Our thoughts are with Captain Harp's family and each of you at SLCFD. We honor your service and sacrifice, Capt. Salt Lake City Fire Department, we mourn your loss. In Brotherhood, Ret. Fire Captain Steve Pengra and Family."

Another wrote, "Sending so much love to his family, friends and fellow firefighters. Such a deep loss that is deeply felt."

Yet another wrote, "Tragic loss to our community, wishing love and comfort to his family and his fellow firefighters." Still, another wrote, "You will be missed Captain Harp. It's been an honor to work with you over the years. You will always be remembered."