Earthquake Damage in the Millions - NBC Bay Area

Earthquake Damage in the Millions

For the third day in a row, the earth rattles beneath California.



    Earthquake Damage in the Millions
    Eureka Times-Standard, Shaun Walker

    The magnitude 6.5 earthquake hit off the Eureka coast Saturday at 4:27 p.m. 26 miles off the Eureka coast.

     A preliminary estimate of damage in Eureka came to $12.5 million, said the city's fire chief, Eric Smith. No countywide assessment was available.

    It was the third earthquake in three days in Northern California and it definitely got people's attention.

    Several people suffered cuts and bruises from falling debris and some 25,000 lost power at one point or another.  Damage was widespread across Humboldt County, but officials said they survived it well.

    Phil Smith-Hanes said county officials spent most of Sunday assessing the damage across his county.

    The quake's location -- offshore, deep under the ocean and away from urban areas -- helped the region escape relatively unscathed what could have been a major disaster. A quake of similar size -- 6.7 magnitude -- killed 72 people and caused $25 billion in damage in 1994 in the Los Angeles area.

    A security camera caught the entire quake in Arcata.

    The quake left the aisles of another grocery store in Eureka ankle-deep in broken bottles, jars and spilled goods.  The store's owner estimates the loss at about $20,000.

    "A lot of customers freaked," Rick Littlefield said Sunday morning. "People just dropped what they had -- in the check stand even. People who were in the middle of a transaction just bailed and left their stuff."

    Littlefield kept his sense of humor as he tried to tackle the sticky mess in the shampoo and juice aisles with a wet/dry vacuum that was soon overflowing with bubbles.     At least, he said, "it smelled really good."

    In Eureka, one apartment building was evacuated and three other commercial buildings were declared unsafe to occupy.

    "It was huge -- one of the biggest earthquakes we've had up here in 20 years," Judd Starks told the Associated Press.  Starks is the kitchen manager at a bar and restaurant known as The Alibi. "The whole town is kind of freaked out right now. All the power is out, people are out walking around," Starks said.

     "People have chimneys down, and we're hearing about minor property damage and lots of glassware broken," Jo Wattle said.  She is with the Humboldt County Office of Emergency Services.  "People are really shaken up. It was shaking pretty good, then it had a big jolt to it at the end."Wattle said. "People are really shaken up. It was shaking pretty good, then it had a big jolt to it at the end."

    Eureka's Bayshore Mall closed following the quake after several light fixtures fell and floor tiles popped up off the ground.  There were reports that part of the ceiling fell onto customers.  The most serious injuries were a few scrapes and minor cuts.  The mall will remain closed for a couple of days as officials fix the damage.

    A nearby antique store reported lots of things tipping over.  Sandra Hall said nearly every lamp in her store broke.  She describe the shake as the most dramatic she's encountered in her 30 years. 

    "We'll be having a sale on broken china for those who like to do mosaics," Hall said.

    In the hours after Saturday's earthquake there were several aftershocks of 3.0 or greater which made for many rattled nerves across the region.

    California is one of the world's most seismically active regions. More than 300 faults crisscross the state, which sits atop two of Earth's major tectonic plates, the Pacific and North American plates.


    The following is a clip from You Tube that claims to have been taken during the shaker.