So, the Skipper rings me this afternoon. He sounds a bit low.
Turns out, today he was able to get into one of the sub-levels of one of the buildings along riverside, where he had our company install air conditioning and filtration units for the multi story building just a few short months ago.
Today they could get into sub level three. There are still two sub levels below this. Workers were able to cut through a fire door to enter and after a day of pumping out the mud, they allowed contractors in to survey damage and officially condemn equipment.
He said the damage, the mud, the smell – inexplicable.
Remember this is the underbelly of a modern, multi-level building on the banks of the Brisbane river – one that operates some of the State’s most expensive offices, legal practices and more.
The sub level he had to tour had not been seen by anyone until he and the team arrived. He described to me how the car park entrance on the side furthest from the river still housed cars, relinquished when people had to evacuate. Perhaps they thought their vehicles safe, locked up underground? They had all been pushed up against the flood doors, and most remain filled with mud. He described iPads, laptops, phones and other equipment bundled together by the staircase base, where the river water gathered them up as it burst windows or sunroofs and plucked objects from Audis, BMWs and Porsches.
Those that choose the healthy route to work that day utilised the allocated bike rack. There, chained to the bike rack, remain a tangle of spokes and chains and wheels dripping with slime and detritus.
To enter the power rooms and air conditioning unit rooms, he had to pass through the archive chambers. Archive chambers of Law offices, with walls lined with rows and rows and rows of shelves, timber trays labelled ‘DO NOT DESTROY’, ‘DO NOT REMOVE’, ‘DO NOT SHRED’. The message, meant for dryer times, means nothing now as the contents have begun to grow mould, long green spores and strands of flossy fungus that would make Gregory House proud.
Traverse to these chambers have to be done by descending or ascending fire escape stairs. Sub level lifts are still not working as the chambers and shafts are still filled with mud and sludge. The fluid seems to ooze from the walls, it seems impossible to remove, it seems to reproduce on it’s own. He described it as a moulding fester that resembles lumpy melted rancid chocolate. He reports the droning sound of pumps and high pressure cleaners combined with the smell is overwhelming.
There is no power, still, in the sub levels of these buildings. Generators run to allow white collar workers upstairs resume their duties, other gennies run below to provide dim lights. Contractors accompanying the Skipper wear headlights over their safety harnesses in order to see where they are going, what they are doing.
It took him, he says, 3 hours to tour sub floor 3 today. He drove back home for a shower before he goes back in tonight to try and compete one more floor. It’s day one, and he’s toured one level of one facility. We estimate we have 40 or so more to tour and condemn.