Debris and rotting food: Flood rescuer looks back
IT'S the foul stench of mud that Glen Pardy remembers first, when you ask him to talk about the 2011 floods.
A decade has passed, but that concoction of floodwaters mixed with debris, dirt and rotting food has remained vivid in his memory.
For all the horror Glen witnessed during the rescue and then clean-up, he is determined to keep in mind the altruism that followed.
He recalls watching another SES member uncover a waterlogged photo album during the clean up.
"He was pulling apart the pages of the photo album and spreading them out across the balcony," Glen said.
"The bloke was sitting there going through one page at a time, just trying to separate them."
Now Group Leader of the State Emergency Services Goodna Branch, Glen was 16 years into his time in the SES on January 12, 2011.
"We got notice that something was coming, between the high tide that was coming in from the Brisbane side against what was coming down through Grantham," Glen said.
"I remember seeing on the radar the storm cloud sitting over Toowoomba - it was the first time I had seen a full wall of black and it wasn't moving so we knew we were in for something huge."
The chaos that followed as floodwaters engulfed Ipswich surpassed everyone's expectations.
"We knew we were up for something but I don't think anyone expected it to happen the way it did," he said.
READ MORE: GALLERY: How 2011 floods swamped Ipswich
Glen was one of the first on scene.
"In Goodna, we were taking people off the roofs of their houses, going out at one and two in the morning under police escort so we could get to people on their houses as the water level was going up," he said.
Working across Grantham to Goodna, Glen said the rescue was "pretty full on".
"Probably something I'll personally never forget - it was horrific," he said.
"Turning things up to see whether there were bodies underneath."
Glen said he helped a married couple climb from the roof of their house into his boat before taking them to safety.
"We had to put them back into the boat to go back to their two-storey house because the woman needed her medication," he said.
"We had to break in through the sliding door on the top floor to get in and actually wade in through to the water to find the container that had all her medication in it."
That house, as Glen recalls, was not far from the Goodna train station.
He estimates the water had risen to six metres from ground level.
READ MORE: The day firefighters faced a wall of water
"As I went to grab the box, I saw a figurine of a little angel sitting on a shelf and I remember grabbing that, going back out and handing it to the lady. And she just broke down in tears," he said.
"It was in a beautiful display box and I just thought it would be nice for her to actually have something from home. She had just lost everything in her house."
The clean up was like nothing Glen had ever seen before.
"And we haven't compared it with anything since because that was so much of a freak of what actually happened," he said.
He said the support that came from the emergency services and the "mud army" was incredible.
"I saw people there who couldn't physically go out but (did what they could)," he said.
"I remember a bloke with a bad back fill up a tinny with ice - he pulled up so people could grab a cold drink."
Read more news by Ebony Graveur.