The quake, the biggest in the region in 25 years, jolted many
residents out of bed when it hit at 3:20 a.m.. It was centered 6
miles (10 km) south of the city of Napa, which is located about 50
miles northeast of San Francisco.
There were no known fatalities, but three people were seriously
injured, including a child who suffered multiple fractures after a
fireplace fell on him, local fire battalion chief John Callahan
said. Six fires broke out, including one that consumed six mobile
homes, he said.
Queen of the Valley Medical Center in Napa said it had treated 120
patients injured in the quake, which was strong enough to be felt
throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.
“They say it went for 50 seconds. It felt like 50 minutes. I was
just too terrified to even scream,” said Patricia Trimble, 50, the
owner of an antique store. She rushed to her store in central Napa
and found the front window blown out, cabinets on their sides and
merchandise littering the floor.
Graphic on the Napa quake: http://link.reuters.com/tud72w)
California Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency,
putting all state resources at the disposal of his Office of
Despite the force of the quake, it ranks as only moderately strong.
California, which sits along a series of seismic faults, is forecast
to experience a much more powerful earthquake at some point, but
scientists do not know when it might come or how strong it would
measure, a geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Don
"Usually when people talk about 'The Big One,' they're talking about
something on the order of a magnitude 9, which of course is
tremendously more powerful" than Sunday's quake, he said.
The biggest impact was centered around Napa, a famous wine-producing
region and a major tourist destination in northern California.
Brick facades gave way in the historic section of downtown Napa, a
city of 77,000, and bricks fell off a second floor corner of the
courthouse, which showed cracks. On the main street, masonry
collapsed onto a car.
One building housing winery tasting rooms had to be closed to
tourists, and the floors of many wine stores were stained red from
the contents of broken wine bottles.
Tyler Paradise, general manager of Cult 24 wine bar in Napa,
estimated his business lost $50,000 worth of bottles that spilled
out of cabinets and littered the floor.
As dawn broke, merchants were on the streets sweeping up debris and
boarding up windows.
State emergency officials said Sunday afternoon that 90 to 100 homes
in Napa were "red-tagged," meaning they were not safe to enter.
Mark Ghilarducci, director of California Governor’s Office of
Emergency Services, said most of downtown Napa had been cordoned off
as crew assessed building damage. City officials said all schools
would be closed Monday so that buildings could be checked for
Police in the nearby city of Vallejo said the initial assessment of
damage was in excess of $5 million, and one building on Georgia
Street with eight residential units was evacuated because of
Around the region, emergency crews worked to extinguish fires in
mobile homes, close water main breaks, clean up broken glass and fix
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By mid-afternoon, 20,000 to 25,000 people were still without power,
down from 70,000 after the earthquake hit. “Right now, things are
stabilizing a little bit,” said Ghilarducci.
Napa City Manager Mike Parness said it could take a full week before
the city was fully restored.
"We’re seeing people coming together and helping people and getting
buildings back on line as soon as possible," Parness told a midday
"WOKE US ALL UP"
USGS said the epicenter of the quake was 5 miles (8 km) northwest of
the town of American Canyon, on the northern edge of the San
It was the largest to hit the Bay Area since the Loma Prieta quake
in 1989, which killed 63 people and caused $6 billion in property
damage. That quake measured 6.9, while the famous one that leveled
San Francisco in 1906 measured 7.8.
"It was long. I think it was the biggest one since I felt the 1989
quake," said Stephanie Martin, 47, a nursing assistant in Oakland,
which sits just across the bay from San Francisco.
"Nothing tipped over, thank God. Rolling back and forth. Just woke
us all up," she said.
John Parrish, state geologist with the California Department of
Conservation, said the quake most likely occurred along the West
Napa Fault in Napa County.
Throughout Sunday, 50 to 60 after-shocks hit the area, the largest
clocking in at a 3.6 magnitude.
Parrish said it was unlikely that a larger earthquake was yet to
come, but he warned that it was likely that the area could
experience smaller after-shocks for the next couple of days.
Structures damaged in the quake would be dangerous to enter,
especially during after-shocks, he said.
“This is a good time to remind everyone that we live in earthquake
country. None us are immune to any of this,” said Parish, urging the
public to “resupply earthquake kits.”
(Additional reporting by Fiona Ortiz and Robin Respaut; Writing by
Peter Henderson, Dina Kyriakidou and Eric Beech; Editing by Leslie
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