Brad Steele form Steele’s Bakery shows how high the water reached.
Brad Steele form Steele’s Bakery shows how high the water reached.

Locals start clean-up after flood

WARWICK residents were met with a slimy trail of devastation left behind by the Condamine River when they returned to their homes and businesses yesterday morning.

The river had fallen significantly since peaking at 9.30pm on Monday night.

Near Warwick Daily News headquarters, Albion Street was closed on Monday evening as the water moved up Fitzroy Street.

At the corner of Fitzroy and Canning streets a pet fanatic struggled to gather all her animals, including horses, dogs and chickens, as floodwater soaked her yard.

The backyard of Warwick East Primary School was like a swimming pool with the sports oval covered in water.

Principal Warren Elder said a team assembled on Monday afternoon worked tirelessly to lift many of the school’s resources up high before they were forced to leave at 6pm when the water took over the school campus.

“The speed of the water was amazing,” he said.

Olsens Home, Timber and Hardware owners Leanne and Alan Olsen spent yesterday morning throwing out a host of electrical stock ruined by the water.

As they the scanned products and binned them, the cost of the flood rose as quickly as the water.

“We’ve had a foot of water through the store,” Mrs Olsen said.

“Everything below that has been damaged. All we can do is clean up and throw away everything we can’t sell.

“We live on the other side of town and we were cut off from the shop. We had one staff member who lives here who saved the computers.

“The closest thing we’ve seen to this is the 1976 floods – that’s what we were really dreading.

“But at the same time the water rose incredibly quickly, so there was just nothing we could do.”

Mr Olsen added: “The worst of our damage is electrical – the power drills, generators and fans.

“They just aren’t safe once they get wet, so that’s where the profit losses are.

“The store floor is completely even, so it wasn’t just one side of the store that had products damaged, it was the whole thing.”

Helen Harm of Helen Harm Real Estate tried her best to start cleaning out her Fitzroy Street office and said, apart from a floating fridge and drawers, she did not think the damage was too severe.

That was not the case for Steele’s Bakery where the damage was disastrous for the local business.

Owners Brad and Gail Steele do not know where to begin with the clean-up, with overturned fridges, wrecked cold rooms and a holiday’s supply of ruined food.

“The SES warned us in the morning and we got a bit of stuff out but the water came up so quickly,” Mr Steele said.

Mrs Steele added: “We’re looking at a huge loss.

“All our freezers and cold rooms were full with stock to last us over the holidays because you can’t get food in.

“Now all that extra stock is ruined.”

There were mixed fortunes at Pioneer Cottages.

While Les Frendon could not believe his luck that water did not enter his home, next door neighbours’ homes were ruined.

Eddie Wilson and Jade James looked at their soggy carpet and simply asked, “What are we going to do for accommodation?”

Warwick’s fire station had to move from its Canning Street depot to Warwick Ambulance headquarters.

It will be there until its premises can be inspected.

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