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Northridge Earthquake – 30 Years Later

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Northridge Earthquake

January 17, 1994. 4:31 am. 

We all remember where we were that morning when a 6.7 magnitude earthquake centered in the valley struck Los Angeles.

Fifty seven people were killed and over 9,000 injured. The collapse of the Northridge Meadows apartment complex on Reseda Boulevard killed 16 immediately when the building completely crushed the first floor apartments.

One of the greatest tolls was the property damage across the valley. In total estimated insured losses were close to $13 billion citywide.

Two freeways collapsed – the Santa Monica Freeway (I-10) and the Golden State (5) Freeway, where a motorcycle officer was killed not realizing in the dark morning that the freeway had collapsed.

 At Topanga Plaza sprinklers went off inside the Broadway Department store for hours, as no one entered the building that morning. The entire south wall of Robinson’s May at Promenade Mall fell forward onto the parking lot. Office buildings on all major streets  literally had their facades fall off straight to the ground, leaving gaping holes and interiors wide open. Ironically there was very little looting as most people were still coming to grips with their own losses.

After the quake many people camped out in their yards, afraid to go back inside as aftershocks rattled already frayed nerves.

Since then a majority of buildings have been rebuilt and retrofitted. New building standards have been set for home and commercial properties.

But recent small quakes in the last few weeks are again rattling nerves, and  famed earthquake expert Kate Hutton, formerly of Cal Tech, is again urging residents to always be prepared.


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