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Biotechnology with the Bioinformatics Option
Central Islip NY

The Joy of Sledgehammers

Sade Fridy on Tuesday, 13 January 2009. Posted in Clubs, Community Service, Student Life

Yes, you read that correctly.

I am a member of Habitat for Humanity (HFH) here at RIT and I'm sure you're now asking yourself, "Doesn't Habitat build houses? Not tear them down?" Well, we do both. Over the weekend I worked on a house out in Livingston County (That's about a 40 minute drive for those of you who, like myself, don't know upstate New York very well). The house was what you'd call a "rehabilitation," that is, it is a house that for one reason or another is no longer being inhabited and so was bought by HFH. Once HFH owns the house they can "gut" it (emptying it, and tearing down the walls) and remodel it for a family that needs it. The house that I worked on had caught on fire (it's old owners are safe, I assure you) from a neighboring house but was not completely engulfed. In fact most of the house looked completely fine. The bulk of the damage was on the side that caught fire and on the inside of the house (from the heat and smoke).

Front of house


Burnt side of the house

When you go on a build, you never really know what you're going to be doing so, I was happy to find out that'd we would be doing deconstruction that day (I've worked on a "rehab" house before so I knew what deconstruction entailed). They basically give you hammers and say "destroy," but if you're lucky, you get a sledgehammer...


I got a sledgehammer :D.

I worked on the upper floor, taking down the inner walls and with all the broken pieces of sheet rock and wood, I'm pretty sure we filled up two dumpsters.

Once the walls were down (easy work for a sledgehammer Tongue out) I helped rip up the carpet but with the combination of the heat from the fire and the cold temperature, the carpet was fused to the floor pretty well. We were able to get a few strips up but had to leave a little early to avoid the snow storm.

Overall, it was a very productive day (I learned that I'm allergic to dust in large quantitiesLaughing). I plan on going back so there'll definitely be updates on the status of the house.