Firefighters pull body from Santa Rosa Creek

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Santa Rosa firefighters Monday morning pulled the dead body of a man from Santa Rosa Creek west of downtown.

A 911 caller reported seeing a white hand sticking up from the side of the creek and firefighters were sent at 9:44 a.m. to a possible water rescue in the creek at West Sixth and Pierson streets.

“Basically what happened was someone called in and noticed someone was floating in the creek lifeless,” police Sgt. Josh Ludtke said. “Police officers determined the person was in fact deceased.”

Recent rainfall had swollen the creek, which was moving faster than normal with runoff from the weekend’s heavy rains. The creek is flanked by a paved path popular with walkers and bicyclists.

Firefighters found the man’s body dressed in heavy winter clothing in the water, partially caught in brush along the creek shoulder.

A video posted on Twitter by the Santa Rosa Fire Department showed firefighters and Santa Rosa police on the scene to recover the body. A half-dozen firefighters, as well as several police and paramedics, are seen securing the area and preparing an evacuation sled to lower into the creek.

After the body was recovered, Sonoma County Coroner’s Office began an investigation to determine his identity, Santa Rosa police Sgt. Marcus Sprague said. As of Monday night, the coroner’s office had not released the man’s identity.

Ludtke said the coroner’s investigation is ongoing, but police saw no reason to suspect foul play.

“It’s unclear what happened, but there were no signs of an assault or anything else,” Ludtke said.

You can reach Staff Writer Randi Rossmann at 707-521-5412 or at Staff Writer Andrew Beale can be reached at 707-521-5205 or at

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