LOCAL Rural Fire Service members have returned home after assisting with the cleanup of the flood-ravaged city of Lismore.
“It was pretty devastating,” Pindimar/Tea Gardens RFS member Sandy Snape said.
“The streets were just littered with people’s belongings from their houses, mattresses and furniture, everything, it was pretty hard to see.”
The local crews got stuck in with moving furniture out of homes, removing mud, and assisting the affected community in any way they could.
Sandy said the hardest part was talking to the residents and seeing how upset they were.
“A lot of their possessions had to be tossed out, and that was a hard decision for them,” she said.
“Some people wanted to keep things to see if they could resurrect them, but you could see that they were totally destroyed.”
Despite the devastation, Sandie told News Of The Area the mood in Lismore remained positive.
“Driving in to start our first task, there were kids waiting at the bus stop who waved and clapped, it made you feel really, really good,” she said.
“The teams worked really well together, and the residents were very grateful.”
Bulahdelah RFS volunteer Meagan Terry, who was on her first deployment, said although she was a little overwhelmed at the carnage, the experience allowed her to build her skills.
“The best part was being able to help people restore some normality in their lives,” she said.
“It was good to work with the other volunteers and make new friends from different areas.”
The volunteer crews were accommodated in a base-camp known as ‘Tent City’ which according to Meagan, “was very well set up with showers, toilets, air conditioning and power”.
Greg Snape, Ron Doyle and Jackson Page from Pindimar/Tea Gardens RFS, and Jake Blanch from Bulahdelah, also volunteered their time to assist with the cleanup and help residents come to terms with the devastation.
“The best part was the way everyone worked together to help all these people in need,” Sandy said.
“I gave out lots of hugs, and that made you feel good,” she added.
By John SAHYOUN