A Townsville man smashed his way into a neighbour's house with a hammer to seek refuge from raging floodwater for two families, six dogs and five cats.
Damien Kent says he ignored advice to seek shelter from the monsoon deluge that was causing catastrophic flooding - it is Townsville after all.
He expected to ride out the storm in his Hermit Park home - right until surging water rushed at knee-level over the weekend.
As water cascaded through, Mr Kent called the SES, but he knew he had left it too late.
So he called a neighbour for permission to shelter in his empty two-storey home, along with another nearby family.
"I wasn't panicking, I had to keep my calm - it must be the mullet."
"I carried the youngest kids on my back, they were pretty scared.
"We also carried six dogs and the five cats - we did a fair few trips but we are all ok."
A few streets over, Steve Knight is scraping thick grey silt from his driveway as his wife Rachel picks through what's left of their home.
They fled about 4am on Saturday when they lost power and returned on Tuesday for the first time.
"It's just devastating, we've been here 14 years and it's never flooded before. Even in Cyclone Yasi we stayed dry, but not this time.
"For us to flood here shows you how devastating it really was.
"It's all material stuff, we can replace things, but to get in and open the door and see everything gone - it was just devastating."
Rachel said the hardest part had been not knowing and waiting to see the damage.
She has no idea where they will live while their home is repaired.
"I don't know what we are going to do - it will be six months before we can move back, at the earliest."
Outside, Steve discovers two of his children's medals buried in the silt.
He tosses them onto the pile of rubbish on the sodden front lawn to be taken to the dump - along with most of their possessions.
Australian Associated Press