Jenga on 3

As I mentioned in "From another angle", some Bad Guys broke into this house at some point and set it on fire. A column of flame shot through the ceiling of the first floor. From there, it rose straight up and fanned out across the ceiling of the second floor roasting the floor joists like tinder until a gaping hole to the third floor broke open.  The firemen gained control, but on a section of three, only charred sagging remnants of the floor remain; crispy carbon beams tethered together by a spaghetti tangle of old BX cable. These lilted downward toward the open hole through which you could now see straight through to the first floor. Heaps of debris, a fallen door, and an old gas heater lay atop this tenuous support in a precarious jumble. 

I've written about the nearly twenty tons of debris that we've removed from this house over the past nine months, but I haven't mentioned that none of it was from this special purgatory on the third floor that threatened collapse if its delicate balance was upset. It felt like a giant game of jenga. The floor sagged heavily under the weight of the debris and the iron heater sat cockeyed at the precipice of the opening. Looking up from the second floor, you could identify the weakest spots, so we hugged the perimeter and gingerly began clearing it, piece by piece. For the far reaches, we used a garden hoe to scrape the rubble towards the safe zone. The plan was to remove the dangerous deadweight on three so that we could wedge temporary support walls under the charred beams without risk of it all falling on our heads.

Here's what it looked like: 

From the other side... 

Looking up from 2: 

How solid are they? 




Views of the hole: