December 27, 2010. After weeks of drought breaking rains, the mighty Condamine River which flows through the small southern downs township of Warwick, near the QLD/NSW border, broke it’s banks and divided the town. Without warning the flood waters rose in the dark of night and inundated many businesses closed for the Christmas break including Rexel. Knee high water filled the store, floating stock and leaving a thick layer of putrid sludge over everything. It was a devastating way to return to work after the festive season. Staff from Toowoomba, Roma and Warwick branches cut short their annual leave and pitched in to start the mammoth task of cleaning up after the waters had subsided. 6 Rexel staff members toiled for 3 long days in very humid and adverse conditions to clean up the branch and to conduct a stocktake of the remaining stock – all by New Year’s Eve. The next week, tradesman started to repair and repaint the walls, power was reconnected, new carpets laid, pwer points and data outlets were replaced. New desks and IT equipment was delivered and replacement stock started to arrive to restock the vacant shelves when….
Tuesday, January 11, 2011. After only 15 days since the last flood, Warwick was again hit by severe heavy rains, the same storm cell that devastated parts of Toowoomba, Western Downs townships and ultimately Brisbane. Word passed through Warwick quickly that the Condamine was again on the rise. Staff worked feverishly to lift up whatever they could before being evacuated, but a lot of the work was in vain. The water peaked another metre higher than a fortnight ago, the 2nd highest in the town’s history. Newly replaced equipment stacked high on the counter, was again submerged by the chest high water. The guy wrenching process was to begin all over again.
5 weeks later, the office has been rebuilt and absolutely everything has been replaced, including the desks, shelving, forklift and the carpet – again. Through all the last weeks, no account customers in need have been turned away during this cleaning and rebuilding project. Rexel Warwick will hold an official re-opening on March 18, 2011 – 2 months after the tragedy.