I had my own close call two nights ago. 3 story end of row, heavy fire on arrival from the 1st floor windows. I was up and over, found fire in the roof in the rear, opened up and went down for a break.( The roof was at least 8 inches of tar, it took a while). After the fire was put under control, the boss cut it to 1st eng/1st ladder, we went in to overhaul.The LT and I were using the thermal imaging camera and went into the dining room, he found some red on the screen and asked me to pull near the wall between the kitchen and the dining room. Without warning, the entire dining room and kitchen pancaked into the basement.After a long 20 secs we were pulled out by the remaining ladder members via a 16′ ladder. Whew, I thought for sure the rest of the house was coming down on us! I never thought the floor would go, more the ceiling on the first floor maybe, but never the floor. Some small bumps and bruises we all walked out ok.
Today we went back and looked at the place, we saw 4 stars (the wall spreader type) on all 3 floors on the alpha side, there was an obvious bow to the entire spandrel between 1 and 2 floors.( unable to see at night with fire showing) The rear had prior collapse damage that the first in companies didn’t see since we go to the front, the 2nd in takes the rear.