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Saturday, February 13, 2016

45 years ago - 1971 Sylmar earthquake... Did you experience it?

How destructive was this quake on February 9, 1971? 

Did you experience this earthquake? If so, send us a comment on what you remember, what you saw, how you felt about it all.

It was reported that 64 people died, 2,500 injured and approximately $550 million in damage, per Daily News.



                                                       Source of this photo: Daily News

Here is a report from the Los Angeles Herald and the Los Angeles Fire Department Historical Archive:

  • Emergency crews evacuated an 80-square-mile area in the vicinity of Van Norman Dam, Mission Hills, which has a crack down its center and is leaking water.
  • The area evacuated extends west of Balboa Boulevard, right on Van Nuys Boulevard, south to Ventura Boulevard and north to the Golden State Freeway.
  • The quake was the worst in the Southland since the Long Beach disaster of 1933.
  • Olvera Street, a picturesque tourist attraction adjacent to the Plaza in the heart of old Los Angeles, is a shambles of collapsed stalls and strewn merchandise.
  • The quake was so intense it briefly knocked out some voice communications at the Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston, according to a spokesman.
  • The agency said that it lost telephone contact with the Long Beach control tower.
  • Buildings swayed and cracked from Los Angeles west to Santa Monica, northeast to Hollywood and Burbank, then throughout the San Fernando valley and the Saugus-Newhall area.
  • Windows shattered.  Highways cracked and buckled.
  • Merchandise in stores and household objects on tables and shelves tumbled to floors.  Power and phone service was knocked out throughout a wide area.
  • Power transformers popped like firecrackers and high voltage lines snapped.
  • Three churches were severely damaged in Pasadena, one of them almost collapsing onto the street.
  • The Presbyterian Church at Madison Avenue and Colorado Boulevard, the Holliston Avenue Methodist Church at Holliston and Colorado, and the Calvary Baptist Church at Marion Avenue and Colorado were damaged.
  • The Baptist Church was reported leaning over onto Colorado.
  • The ornament atop Pasadena City Hall's dome was twisted at a 90-degree angle by the whip action of the quake.
  • All residents in the northern end of the San Fernando Valley were ordered by the City Health Department to boil drinking water as the area's chlorination plant was seriously damaged by the shock waves.


--- --- ---
Governor Reagan Declares State of Emergency

SACRAMENTO  (AP)--Gov. Ronald Reagan declared a state of emergency in Los Angeles County today because of the earthquake that struck Southern California.

The Republican governor said he would ask President Nixon to take similar action at the federal level.

"I have assured Los Angeles County officials that the state of California will provide whatever assistance and resources may be needed to deal with the effects of the quake."  Reagan said.

Reagan was briefed on the earthquake situation by his Office of Emergency Services this morning and then said the state would make available whatever aid local authorities needed in dealing with the problem.

There were no immediate plans for the governor to visit Los Angeles, which is his home.  But his press office said those plans would depend on further reports from the scene later in the day.

Reagan was scheduled to hold a regular news conference in the Capitol later in the day.

The State Department of Mental Hygiene already had cleared sections of Camarillo State Hospital to take in patients from a damaged hospital in the earthquake area.



3 comments:

David SoCal said...

I was planning to leave for a trip to Mexico and had given up my room at the house where I had been living near White Oak and the 101 Fwy.
I was sleeping on the living room floor in a sleeping bag the morning of the quake.
When the quake hit it felt my housemates were pulling a prank and shaking me around in my sleeping bag. As I yelled at them, I was able to sit up while still in the sleeping bag. I then realized this was not a prank but an earthquake. Simultaneously I realized the quake was toppling a large bookcase full of books and it was heading my way. Still in the sleeping bag; I was able to roll out of harms way just as the bookcase crashed to the floor precisely where my feet had been on the living room floor seconds before!
That's my story an I'm sticking to it.

David SoCal said...

I was planning to leave for a trip to Mexico and had given up my room at the house where I had been living near White Oak and the 101 Fwy.
I was sleeping on the living room floor in a sleeping bag the morning of the quake.
When the quake hit it felt my housemates were pulling a prank and shaking me around in my sleeping bag. As I yelled at them, I was able to sit up while still in the sleeping bag. I then realized this was not a prank but an earthquake. Simultaneously I realized the quake was toppling a large bookcase full of books and it was heading my way. Still in the sleeping bag; I was able to roll out of harms way just as the bookcase crashed to the floor precisely where my feet had been on the living room floor seconds before!
That's my story an I'm sticking to it.

Scott Mumford said...

Asleep in our house in the Hollywood Hills. I sat bolt-upright and could see power lines & transformers sparking out the window. I ran upstairs to street level and stood in our massive front doorway. Meanwhile my parents were frantic when they couldn't find me in my room. Got dressed and waited for the school bus (that never came, of course). The phones were out, but I remember getting an incoming phone call came in later that afternoon from someone on the east coast checking up on us.

Funny, I don't remember the day AFTER the quake at all.