Right Thinking From The Left Coast
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one. - Albert Einstein

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Shakin’ the Bay

It was 100 years ago today that the Good Lord decided to smite San Francisco.

Sirens wailed through the city before dawn Tuesday to mark the moment 100 years earlier when the Great Quake struck, shattering the city and touching off fires that burned for days.

Eleven centenarians who survived the devastation were joined by thousands of spectators for a memorial ceremony to remember one of the worst natural disasters in U.S. history. …

Most of the city’s 400,000 residents were still in bed when the magnitude-7.8 earthquake struck at 5:12 a.m. on April 18, 1906.

The foreshock sent people scrambling, and the main shock arrived with such fury that it flattened crowded rooming houses. The epicenter was a few miles offshore of the city, but it was felt as far away as Oregon and Nevada. In 28 seconds, it brought down the City Hall it had taken 27 years to build.

From cracked chimneys, broken gas lines and toppled chemical tanks, fires broke out and swept across the city, burning for days. Ruptured water pipes left firefighters helpless, while families carrying what they could fled the advancing flames to parks that had become makeshift morgues.

Historians say city officials, eager to bring people and commerce back to the city, radically underestimated the death toll. Researchers are still trying to settle on a number, but reliable estimates put the loss above 3,000, and possibly as high as 6,000.

I dunno.  It seems to me that San Francisco could do with another really good smiting.

Posted by Lee on 04/18/06 at 07:56 AM in Cullyforneah • Permalink


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