Glenn and Margaret Mack in their Jackson St, Sarina backyard. A hill behind the home was washed through their home when about 400mm fell on Tuesday night.
Glenn and Margaret Mack in their Jackson St, Sarina backyard. A hill behind the home was washed through their home when about 400mm fell on Tuesday night. Tony Martin

Family evacuated as deluge gushes through home

WHEN a massive deluge of about 400mm hit the Mack family home in Sarina "it was like three fire hydrants had been turned on at once”.

Glenn Mack, 54, said he and six family members were evacuated from their Jackson Street home about 11pm Tuesday as water cascaded down a hill in their backyard, eroding it away.

"It was scary. The rain was roaring last night, the water was roaring and it was very, very frightening. You feel so tiny in the scale of things,” he said.

I've never seen rain like that before in my life. And not continuously like it was. It went for three hours and all the drains were completely overflowing.

"And what happened is behind us is a hill and it ran down there, eroded it and our backyard totally away.

"We've now got ditches half a metre deep in the backyard. And we had loose stones scattered to help contain erosion and some have moved 15 metres.”

Glenn starts the clean-up at the Mack family's home.
Glenn starts the clean-up at the Mack family's home. Tony Martin

Busting through a retaining wall on the split-level home's bottom level, about "two inches of water” flooded in, distributing a thick layer of dirt.

"I felt extremely helpless. I have an injury to my neck which limits what I can do and my wife was out shovelling in the rain. I told her to give up, it was an endless battle, one you couldn't win,” Mr Mack said.

"It (the floodwater) just naturally went out the garage door after that. Now, there's fine silt everywhere in the bottom section, which has two bedrooms, a bathroom and the garage.

"The hillside is made up of decomposing granite so it's got no body. As soon as the water gets in it washes it away.”

Mr Mack said the State Emergency Service and Queensland Fire and Emergency Service attended, but were powerless to help at the time, evacuating the family due to concerns about a landslide.

Thankfully, the Mack family's neighbours welcomed them into their home for the night.

Dirt washed from the hill at the back of the Mack family's Jackson St, Sarina, home. Glenn Mack said the Mackay Regional Council had already cleared much of the dirt by the time this photo was taken.
Dirt washed from the hill at the back of the Mack family's Jackson St, Sarina, home. Glenn Mack said the Mackay Regional Council had already cleared much of the dirt by the time this photo was taken. Tony Martin

"And neighbours up and down the road are helping us clean out. It's just fantastic,” he said.

Now, after discovering a "new crack in a concrete slab” in his home, Mr Mack is waiting for his insurance company to send an engineer to inspect the damage.

"Some of the stumps for the top half of the house have been washed away underneath, undermined, too,” he said.

Meanwhile, more heavy falls have been forecast by the Bureau of Meteorology and Mr Mack is trying to figure out his next course of action.

"Now our drains are half a metre under the debris. If we get another heavy downfall the bottom half will just flood again,” he said.

Mr Mack said his neighbours had generously offered the Macks a place to stay tonight.

About 20 homes in Sarina remain on standby for evacuation, Mr Mack said.



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