Back to the Brass Helmet: Wall of Water
IN celebration of 150 years of firefighting in Ipswich, the QT and QFES will present a series of videos over the next few weeks.
Each video will be uploaded onto the QT website every Friday. Here's the fourth in the series: Back to the Brass Helmet: Wall of Water, the 2011 Floods.
Ipswich, Toowoomba and the Lockyer Valley were devastated when massive rains systems dumped record falls across the region in January, 2011.
Before the floods had event hit Ipswich, the city's firefighters were called west to help Lockyer Valley residents swept up in the wall of water that came down the range.
The force of the water washed houses from their foundations in Murphy's Creek and Grantham, taking vehicles away. In separate storms that hit Toowoomba and the Lockyer Valley, 21 people were killed.
Several Ipswich firefighters earned bravery awards for swift water rescues performed during the floods disaster. As it later emerged, some rescues involved firefighters saving other firefighters from peril.
Station Officer Mark Stephenson, who won a Royal Humane Society Silver Medal, was swept 500m downstream while searching for five missing people.
He saved himself, working 17 hours straight to co-ordinate rescues at Murphy's Ck, Grantham and Gatton, returning back to duty after a five-hour break to conduct another 17 rescues in Ipswich.
Mr Stephenson's story was only one of many exemplifying heroics of firefighters during the 2011 floods.