Dozens injured, 3 critically, after strong earthquake in California
An earthquake with a magnitude of 6.0 struck the San Francisco Bay area early Sunday, prompting California Gov. Jerry Brown to declare a state of emergency. The earthquake hit just before 3:30 a.m. Pacific time about 10 miles northwest of American Canyon, which is about six miles southwest of Napa, in California wine country, according to Leslie Gordon of the U.S. Geological Survey.It was the largest earthquake to shake Northern California since the devastating 6.9-magnitude Loma Prieta quake in 1989, the USGS said. Widespread damage was reported Sunday, and dozens of people were taken to local hospitals with minor injuries.
In Napa, dozens of historic buildings have been damaged, and crews are responding to 50 gas line breaks and 30 water main leaks, according to city officials. Four homes at a mobile-home park were destroyed by fire after the temblor.
At least 87 people have been treated for injuries at Queen of the Valley Medical Center. Three major injury cases are known at this time.
According to the Associated Press, Vanessa deGier, a spokeswoman for the hospital in Napa, said most patients have cuts, bumps and bruises. She said the facility has treated a hip fracture and heart attack, but it was unclear whether it was related to the earthquake. The hospital has set up a triage tent, deGier said, and many people are still coming in.
City fire and police officials said during a news conference that there is relative calm, as they work on securing the downtown area and identifying the most damaged structures.
Jay Jacobs, who lives on and owns the Cuttings Wharf Vineyard in Napa, called the area a disaster.
“We have no electricity. Lines are down everywhere. It knocked over a cabinet filled with clothes,” said Jacobs, who grows Chardonnay grapes on his 16 acres. “A TV was knocked off the stand. All the pictures flew off the wall.”
He said he does not think there is damage to his home, which was built about 20 years ago, or his vineyard, which is about seven miles south of downtown Napa.
But other wineries didn’t escape damage:
“It woke me up. The house shook for at least 10 seconds after I realized what was happening, multiple shakes like wind gusts, but much stronger,” Weintraub recalled. “Since we almost never have earthquakes in Sacramento, I guessed immediately that this was a strong one, in either the Bay Area or the Sierra.”
Others had similar stories of being woken in the middle of the night by the earthquake, which to some sounded like an oncoming freight train.
“Everything came off every single shelf. Every picture was off the wall. Every dish had come out of the cabinet and was broken on the floor,” said Chris Cox, 40, who conducts wine tours for a living and works at Napa Valley Caterers as a bartender. “The refrigerator opened and most of the food was out on the floor. Everything that was in bottles was broken, and food was all over the place.”
Cox, who was about two miles north of downtown Napa and five miles south of the epicenter, said people who live in the hills of Napa, which is made of rock, versus the valley floor, which is made of clay, seemed to fare better.
The earthquake lies within a 44-mile-wide set of major faults of the San Andreas fault system, according the USGS.
At least 30 water main breaks and leaks were reported, according to Napa public works director Jack Rochelle. "We have our crews out assessing all those locations," he said at a news conference. Water will be shut off to any damaged water main as quickly as possible, and the water that is still flowing is safe to drink, he said.
The earthquake triggered six major fires, including several mobile homes that completely burned down, Callanan said. The city has turned Napa High School into a shelter for those who have lost their homes.
People phoned in more than 100 reports of gas leaks and downed power lines, according Napa city officials.
Some historic buildings in downtown Napa showed extensive damage and at least 15,000 customers in and around Sonoma, Napa, and Santa Rosa lost power, according to Pacific Gas and Electric Company.
The USGS estimated, based on their locations, that 15,000 people experienced severe shaking, 106,000 people felt very strong shaking, 176,000 felt strong shaking, and 738,000 felt moderate shaking.
"I've got a lot of broken wine, being here in Napa," said Emily Massimi, who was woken up by the quake. "We tend to collect wine, so I have wine all over my kitchen, and glass, and pictures off the wall and books off of bookshelves," she told CNN.
At Silver Oak Winery, owner David Duncan spent the morning cleaning up hundreds of broken wine bottles that fell off the shelves.
"Those bottles were very unique," he said. They were part of his private collection and worth hundreds of dollars. "It's a tragedy, but it's nothing we can't overcome." Duncan said he plans to open the winery today.
The quake jolted downtown Napa resident Karen Lynch. "The refrigerator flew open and all the food fell out," she told CNN.
"It was not like other quakes we have felt," Lynch said. "This was a violent quake, jolting us to and fro."
There have been at least five aftershocks so far, according to the USGS, ranging from 2.6 to 3.6 magnitude