(Adds quotes, updates number of patients treated, adds number
of houses in Napa not safe to enter)
By Jim Christie
NAPA, Calif. Aug 24 A 6.0 magnitude earthquake
rocked wine country north of San Francisco early on Sunday,
injuring more than 100 people, damaging historic buildings,
setting some homes on fire and causing power outages around the
picturesque town of Napa.
The quake, the biggest in the region in 25 years, jolted
many residents out of bed when it hit at 3:20 a.m. (1020 GMT).
It was centered 6 miles (10 km) south of the city of Napa, which
is located about 50 miles northeast of San Francisco.
There were no known fatalities, but three people were
seriously injured, including a child who suffered multiple
fractures after a fireplace fell on him, local fire battalion
chief John Callahan said. Six fires broke out, including one
that consumed six mobile homes, he said.
Queen of the Valley Medical Center in Napa said it had
treated 120 patients injured in the quake, which was strong
enough to be felt throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.
"They say it went for 50 seconds. It felt like 50 minutes. I
was just too terrified to even scream," said Patricia Trimble,
50, the owner of an antique store. She rushed to her store in
central Napa and found the front window blown out, cabinets on
their sides and merchandise littering the floor.
(Graphic on the Napa quake: link.reuters.com/tud72w)
California Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of
emergency, putting all state resources at the disposal of his
Office of Emergency Services.
Despite the force of the quake, it ranks as only moderately
California, which sits along a series of seismic faults, is
forecast to experience a much more powerful earthquake at some
point, but scientists do not know when it might come or how
strong it would measure, a geophysicist with the U.S. Geological
Survey (USGS), Don Blakeman, said.
"Usually when people talk about 'The Big One,' they're
talking about something on the order of a magnitude 9, which of
course is tremendously more powerful" than Sunday's quake, he
The biggest impact was centered around Napa, a famous
wine-producing region and a major tourist destination in
Brick facades gave way in the historic section of downtown
Napa, a city of 77,000, and bricks fell off a second floor
corner of the courthouse, which showed cracks. On the main
street, masonry collapsed onto a car.
One building housing winery tasting rooms had to be closed
to tourists, and the floors of many wine stores were stained red
from the contents of broken wine bottles.
Tyler Paradise, general manager of Cult 24 wine bar in Napa,
estimated his business lost $50,000 worth of bottles that
spilled out of cabinets and littered the floor.
As dawn broke, merchants were on the streets sweeping up
debris and boarding up windows.
State emergency officials said Sunday afternoon that 90 to
100 homes in Napa were "red-tagged," meaning they were not safe
Mark Ghilarducci, director of California Governor's Office
of Emergency Services, said most of downtown Napa had been
cordoned off as crew assessed building damage. City officials
said all schools would be closed Monday so that buildings could
be checked for structural damage.
Police in the nearby city of Vallejo said the initial
assessment of damage was in excess of $5 million, and one
building on Georgia Street with eight residential units was
evacuated because of structural concerns.
Around the region, emergency crews worked to extinguish
fires in mobile homes, close water main breaks, clean up broken
glass and fix power outages.
By mid-afternoon, 20,000 to 25,000 people were still without
power, down from 70,000 after the earthquake hit. "Right now,
things are stabilizing a little bit," said Ghilarducci.
Napa City Manager Mike Parness said it could take a full
week before the city was fully restored.
"We're seeing people coming together and helping people and
getting buildings back on line as soon as possible," Parness
told a midday news conference.
"WOKE US ALL UP"
USGS said the epicenter of the quake was 5 miles (8 km)
northwest of the town of American Canyon, on the northern edge
of the San Francisco Bay.
It was the largest to hit the Bay Area since the Loma Prieta
quake in 1989, which killed 63 people and caused $6 billion in
property damage. That quake measured 6.9, while the famous one
that leveled San Francisco in 1906 measured 7.8.
"It was long. I think it was the biggest one since I felt
the 1989 quake," said Stephanie Martin, 47, a nursing assistant
in Oakland, which sits just across the bay from San Francisco.
"Nothing tipped over, thank God. Rolling back and forth.
Just woke us all up," she said.
John Parrish, state geologist with the California Department
of Conservation, said the quake most likely occurred along the
West Napa Fault in Napa County.
Throughout Sunday, 50 to 60 after-shocks hit the area, the
largest clocking in at a 3.6 magnitude.
Parrish said it was unlikely that a larger earthquake was
yet to come, but he warned that it was likely that the area
could experience smaller after-shocks for the next couple of
Structures damaged in the quake would be dangerous to enter,
especially during after-shocks, he said.
"This is a good time to remind everyone that we live in
earthquake country. None us are immune to any of this," said
Parish, urging the public to "resupply earthquake kits."
(Additional reporting by Fiona Ortiz and Robin Respaut; Writing
by Peter Henderson, Dina Kyriakidou and Eric Beech; Editing by