MACKAY SES volunteers "didn't want to leave" after helping residents of flood ravaged Bundaberg.
"Our deployment members saw so much more they could do so they wanted to stay and contribute further," Mackay SES deputy local controller Barry Jenkins said.
Mr Jenkins and a team of 15 other Mackay SES members returned last night after five days helping the flood recovery.
They joined forces with Calliope and Gladstone SES and helped Bundaberg residents remove furniture and flooring from their destroyed homes.
"We were knocking on doors asking how we could help," Mr Jenkins said.
"The water was over the tops of their roofs leaving a foot of mud in their homes.
"We were tasked with assisting with removing all their furniture, floor coverings and helping clean out their homes of mud and debris."
Mr Jenkins said the cleanup took an emotional toll on the volunteers.
"They certainly had an awakening experience - they saw what can only be described as ground zero," he said.
"When we drove into suburbs there was only enough room for... one path for a vehicle on the street because everyone's lives were out on the roadways.
"Houses were destroyed and one house had floated hundreds of metres away and was only stopped by a power pole."
Mr Jenkins said in some cases, SES volunteers needed to convince residents to accept their help.
"In some places the residents said you should be helping somebody else more than them," he said.
"We were telling them we had numerous inter-service organisations on the ground and they were just as important as everybody else."