Firies clean up flood zone
A TOUGH trio of Boonah firefighters is enjoying some hard-earned rest after spending a week in flood-ravaged Mitchell.
Boonah auxiliary captain Glenn Sippel and officers Trevor Betzold and David Bland were flown out to the tiny country town - 85km west of Roma - on February 5 to relieve the town's local firefighters.
Shacked up in a flooded motel room that had the carpets ripped up, the small crew went about cleaning out the Mitchell Fire Station, which was one of the buildings flooded by the fast-flowing Maranoa River.
Mr Sippel said the crew's job was also to attend to any calls for assistance that came through during the week, allowing the resident firefighters time to clean up their own houses.
"Our job was to be the first response for Mitchell Fire Station," he said.
"The clean-up involved hosing out the station and just basically cleaning up and throwing away anything that couldn't be saved.
"It was lucky that we had a vacuum truck to help us."
It was also lucky that the crew was only called out to one emergency for the entire week - a false alarm that was caused when pesticide spray set off the alarms at the hospital.
After the fire station was clean the three firefighters set about helping in the clean-up of the rest of the town.
Mr Bland said the way the Mitchell community worked together during the disaster was heartwarming. "I went to Grantham and Murphy's Creek last year and, while the level of devastation wasn't the same, this flood was certainly on a vast scale, with something like 80% of the homes in Mitchell getting water through them," he said.
"There was such a great response from the locals though. It seems to always come out in disasters wherever we are.
"They were really supportive and very grateful toward us. One of the cafes opened its doors to us so that we could go in at any time and get something.
"Everyone in town, bar the television news reporters,
was covered in mud from tip to toe."
The Boonah crew flew back home on Saturday, making way for another team including firefighters from the Scenic Rim area.
Mr Bland said it was likely firefighters would continue to be sent in to assist Mitchell crews for the next month.