Can crawl through condo attic firewall? (Pics)

(Edit, I’m posting in this site and section after being brought here by an attic firewall thread through a google search) EDIT 2. My location is Modesto, Ca.

I poked my head through the opening in my attic, from a closet in my bedroom. I’m concerned about an opening right at the bottom middle, next to the opening to my closet. A whole section missing, big enough to crawl through.

View here:

I also don’t know what a firewall looks like. I figure it can look like drywall, and not very thick. I cropped a photo of the only section that has writing on it. It mentions the word resistance, but to what.

View here:

A wider shot to the left of the opening:

The place was built in 1968, one level. Reason I’m looking into this is due to some new neighbors, that smoke and other issues.

They should never been allowed in by the owners, as they never paid the PG&E, which I learned from some landlord yelling at their door calling them liars and dead beats, then came back to take the fridge. Later we caught the occupants charging their cell phones in the laundry rooms. So they are without power and gas. This last week they’ve been running a small gas powered generator in the patio, I can here it now. Filled by gas brought by some guys that come walking down the street to the place.

I mention this because before the generator, there was always faint glow in the place, probably a candle. So if they are using candles all the time, that’s a huge fire risk. Plus, just opening my hatch to the attic the cold air had that after smoke smell too. I usually smell the smoke from my bedroom shared wall when sitting near it or near the floor, while breathing normally. Plus, an unused computer sitting at that wall has a really strong smell inside it through an opening where its power supply use to be. Removing it from my room for the smell seems to go away, put it back, the smell is there again.

Can this smell be coming through the walls if not properly protected, or through the attic and out my closet? The closet door has those angled pieced of wood that let air through. Just seems odd to smell it near the floor of the wall and not around the closet.

Also, why on earth is such a piece missing up there. I never thought much about it when I moved in 7 years ago, being young and not knowing of firewalls. And the inspector, nor workers that installed new insulation and venting never mentioned it when I bought the unit.

I wonder too about this electronic box right at the entrance to the attic that has a thick cable and small cable heading into the other unit. Is it related to tv cable, or something else?

(you’ll see the yellow insulation sticking out from the hole)

Well, you don’t say where you are located, so we don’t know waht the building code requirements are in your area, and we can’t, therefore, read the code to see where firewalls are required. Where I work, each unit must be enclosed by fire separations running either to or through the roof. I can tell you that a single layer of wallboard on 2x4 studs on the flat does not a firewall make, and there certainly should not be a hole in it. Other than that, I can’t comment without lots more information.

Sorry about forgetting my location. Modesto, California.

You should seal the hole in the firewall but that might not be enough to get rid of the smells. I had a past client call me a couple months ago regarding their newer condo and every smell from their neighbors (heavy smokers) came into the bathrooms. The bathrooms were on the common walls and smoke was coming thru the pipe penetrations that had not been sealed properly. They pulled out the cabinets, removed the drywall, sealed their neighbors pipe penetrations. re-insulated and re-installed tightly sealed drywall and it finally took care of the issue. With as old of a home as you are talking about your not going to have tight construction and it may be more trouble than its worth.

Try blasting Barry Manilow music at all hours. I hear they do that in Australia to clear out the city parks.