Thursday, January 16, 2014

20th Anniversary of the Northridge Quake

Tomorrow will be 20 years since the Northridge quake hit the Los Angeles area. I can still remember it like it was yesterday. Hubby and I got tossed out of bed at 4:31 in the morning (I managed to get a look at my alarm clock) and stumbled downstairs, trying not to fall as our townhome shook. We did our best to calm our freaked out pets and not panic ourselves. And we weren't even near the epicenter. I've been through several quakes in my lifetime but that one was the longest and scariest. 

Of course, right afterwards I turned to my husband like a good Angelino and said, "Ooh, what do you think? 6.5 at least, right?" (It was actually a larger magnitude)

"Yeah. At least." He nodded and smiled as we braced for the aftershocks. 

Luckily, we only had minor damage to our place. A crack or two in the drywall and a few things fell off shelves. My cousin-in-law lived near Griffith Observatory and her apartment looked like a tornado hit. No structural damage, thank goodness, but what a mess. 

I was doing a production in Burbank at the time and one of our cast members lived near the epicenter. After the inspector cleared her home as still livable, she decided to have a cast party so we could see the damage first hand. Every chimney in her neighborhood, and I mean EVERY chimney, was on the ground with yellow caution tape around it. Her home had huge cracks in every corner where the drywall had separated. It had been cleaned up by this time but she said the place looked like a disaster area after the quake. The good news is that she wasn't hurt.

Others weren't so lucky and several people lost their lives. Mainly because an apartment building that wasn't built to code (on purpose) collapsed and crushed them. I hope that builder is still having nightmares. Sections of our freeways also collapsed. Not as badly as what hit San Francisco but bad enough. Many buildings were damaged, natural gas leaks and fires broke out all over the place. A real nightmare for those involved.

I woke up at 4:31 every single morning for six months after that quake and even a little bump makes me sit up and pay attention today. We can never be prepared enough here on the West Coast and sometimes we get too complacent about earthquakes. People from other areas think we're nuts to live here but our quality of life, fabulous weather and beaches have us in their grasp. But then, we think those who live in tornado, hurricane and blizzard states are a bit off.

Anyway, we've got our emergency kit packed and ready. I just hope we never have to use it.If you're too young to remember the Northridge quake, here are some photos.

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