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The latest on damaging earthquake in California

August 25, 2014
Associated Press

NAPA, Calif. (AP) — This is what Associated Press reporters on the scene are learning following the largest earthquake to hit the San Francisco Bay Area in 25 years:

5:23 p.m. PDT

Mark Ghilarducci, director of the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services, said at a news conference late Sunday afternoon that the situation had stabilized.

By midday, officials had a good sense that the fires were out and power was starting to be restored. "While it was bad, it wasn't as bad as it could be and it was very manageable from a regional perspective," he said.

Ghilarducci said about 90 to 100 homes were deemed not habitable. He said the next step was to continue damage assessments and get a cost estimate for potential federal assistance.

Aftershocks were expected to continue for several weeks, though State Geologist John Parrish said they would decrease in magnitude and it was unlikely that there would be a large follow-up earthquake. Still, he warned people to be careful because buildings that were damaged by the quake were now more susceptible to collapse from aftershocks.

5 p.m. PDT

Pacific Gas and Electric has lowered the pressure on its Sonoma-to-Napa gas line and is monitoring all gas outlets for leaks, spokesman Jeff Smith said. The company has so far received 439 complaint calls about gas odors and has cut off gas to about 20 customers because of damaged equipment, Smith said. Anyone with concerns about a gas leak may call the company at 800-743-5002, he said.

As of 5 p.m., about 7,300 electricity customers are without power, he said.

3:33 p.m. PDT

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. has reduced the number of customers without power to about 17,000, spokesman Jeff Smith said. Right after the earthquake hit 12 hours ago, about 70,000 people were without power, he said.

2:46 p.m. PDT

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. is working to restore power to 30,000 customers after the earthquake, spokesman Jeff Smith said.

There have been "no reports of significant damage" to the company's equipment, Smith said. Crews are continuing to assess the situation, he added.

If customers smell gas or experience an emergency, they should call the company immediately, Smith said.

Customers should not try to turn their gas on themselves, he said. Customers should call Pacific Gas and Electric "to get your gas back on" to avoid a potentially dangerous situation, Smith said.

2:25 p.m. PDT

The California Department of Transportation has inspected San Francisco Bay Area state highways and structures and says all damage appears to be minor.

The agency says bridges and roadways are open and safe for travel.

2:14 p.m. PDT

All Napa Valley Unified School District campuses will be closed Monday. Justin Siena High School will also be closed.

2:14 p.m. PDT

U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., said in a statement that she will be sending staffers to hard-hit Napa on Monday and said: "I will be talking to local officials about how we can help ensure that residents, businesses and communities have the resources they need to recover and rebuild."

2:14 p.m. PDT

Queen of the Valley Medical Center in Napa, which treated 120 people, has some damage from the earthquake. That included burst pipes in a non-patient area, ceiling tiles falling off in office areas and minor structural damage to an outbuilding.

Spokeswoman Vanessa DeGier said: "We are open 24 hours a day and so some of our staff did sustain some injuries," which she characterized as minor.

2:14 p.m. PDT

Gracie Ramirez, 19, was at Queen of the Valley Medical Center in Napa to visit her sister-in-law, Connie Navarro, who gave birth to a boy about 10 minutes before the quake struck.

Ramirez said: "The nurses were grabbing the baby and, you know, trying to check all his fingers and toes, and then 'boom.'

"The computers fell, the hospital was a mess, they told me that one of the nurses was injured because a computer fell on her."

1:55 p.m. PDT

Napa Public Works Director Jack LaRochelle says it could take as long as a week to repair 60 water mains that broke or sprung leaks. He says residents serviced by mains that had to be shut down for repairs could be without water in their homes for that long.

LaRochelle stressed that it was still safe to drink from municipal taps, and the water plants for the city were not damaged.

1:55 p.m. PDT

Officials said tourists planning to visit Napa Valley should check whether their accommodations were affected, but they said much of the valley was not impacted.

1:55 p.m. PDT

Though the damage appeared to be most significant in Napa, other cities nearby were also affected. About 15 miles south in Vallejo, city officials said 41 buildings were damaged, primarily in the downtown area and on Mare Island, and there were 16 water main breaks.

Congressman Mike Thompson, who represents Napa, says a museum and homes that belonged to officers when Mare Island served as a naval shipyard were declared uninhabitable.

1:32 p.m. PDT

The earthquake couldn't have come at a worse time for winemakers in the storied Napa Valley, which has just started harvesting the 2014 crop. Thousands of bottles and barrels broke.

Tom Montgomery, a winemaker for B.R. Cohn Winery in Glen Ellen, California, said: "It's devastating. I've never seen anything like this."

1:32 p.m. PDT

Napa City Manager Mike Parness says it is too early to estimate damages. He said: "Right now we're still in initial response mode where we're trying to find out what the conditions are. Once we have that identified then we will start putting numbers to it and try to get a better handle on it. We really can't do that right now. It's only been a few hours."

12:58 p.m. PDT

The earthquake sent 120 people to Queen of the Valley Medical Center in Napa, where officials set up a triage tent to handle the influx. Hospital CEO Walt Mickens says most had cuts, bumps and bruises received either in the quake, when they tried to flee their homes or while cleaning up. Three people were admitted with broken bones, and two for heart attacks.

12:58 p.m. PDT

Napa City Manager Mike Parness says 15 to 16 buildings are no longer inhabitable after Sunday's magnitude-6.0 earthquake, and there is only limited access to numerous other structures, mostly ones with broken windows. Officials say they are still assessing buildings in the area.

 
 

 

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