Words of Advice:

"If Something Seems To Be Too Good To Be True, It's Best To Shoot It, Just In Case." -- Fiona Glenanne

"Flying the Airplane is More Important than Radioing Your Plight to a Person on the Ground
Who is Incapable of Understanding or Doing Anything About It." -- Unknown

“Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level
and then beat you with experience.” -- Mark Twain

"Stay Strapped or Get Clapped." -- probably not Mr. Rogers

"Let’s eat all of these people!” — Venom

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

27 Years On

The Loma Prieta Earthquake wreaked major damage in the San Francisco Bay area, killing 62 people.

If it wasn't for the third game of the 1989 World Series, between Oakland and San Francisco, the death toll might have been higher, as a lot of people who would have been commuting when the quake struck were in front of TV sets.


3383 said...

And we are still finishing the new bridge (and what a shit sandwich it is) and the old bridge is still being removed.

todgermanica said...

I was there in '89 in the Marina district walking to the hotel from IRS training classes when the quake hit. I had no clue when the shaking started that it was so big. I quipped to someone on the street "McGuire must have hit a dinger!".

As soon as the shaking stopped the buildings emptied and the streets and sidewalks filled with scared excited people. I grabbed my Nikon and shot (mostly blurry, underexposed-Kodachrome with slow ISO!) pics of the famous apt. complex that collapsed killing a mother and infant. From my hotel you could see three or four building on fire in the Marina area.

Nobody could drive except bikes and motorcycles which arrived within minutes it seemed-so if you want to move around during a disaster you need two wheels. Cash registers naturally would not work but generous vendors sold or gave away ice cream, soft drinks...one gave me a cigar just for borrowing my flashlight. People were at their best and the spirit was like a festival with happy people just glad to be alive despite the smoke and fear of more shakes.

Since I was a drinker as well as a smoker in those days I bought a six-pack, some Christian Bros. brandy and some KFC and walked back to my dark hotel to drink and talk with an IRS co-worker all night long, listening to sirens wail as fire trucks worked their way around the stalled trolleys and grid-locked cars, trying not to breathe too much smoke and watching the burning building glow.

Since this was before cell phones and I had no radio, I had no idea about the East Bay freeway ramp collapse and the Bay Bridge break. The people in SF had the least knowledge about what was happening. I noticed a line around the pay phone on the street the next morning, called IRS and was told to go back home to Sacramento and Roseville via the Golden Gate bridge through Marin since the classes were canceled and the Bay Bridge was damaged.

So I drove home with one of the worst hangovers I've ever had to find nobody at home had worried about me one bit. I guess they figured if I survived Vietnam no little 8.1 quake was going to hurt me. And they were right. Then I read and watched the news to find out what I'd missed while actually being in the earthquake.

The only good thing that resulted was the Athletics got to start their two best pitchers twice and swept the Giants-hardly worth it for all the death and destruction-but better than nothing. And the Athletics have not been back to the World Series since. But just wait until next year!

Comrade Misfit said...

I've had a few posts up about the replacement piece-of-shit bridge.

3383 said...

Comrade, I know you have; but I am reminded five days a week using the bridge and dealing with engineers (with CCSF) who make serious mistakes and still get promoted.

The downside of civil service, apparently.

p.s. Fighting with the captcha over what constitutes a street sign (sometimes poles are included but not always) isn't helping.

Comrade Misfit said...

The capptchas are as annoying as fuck. But not as annoying as the amount of spam that would descend like the spillage from an overturned honey-truck.

Nearly 30 years to design and build a replacement bridge is stupid. It didn't take that long to do the Big Dig, and it only took less than four years to build the bridge the first time.

dinthebeast said...

Arnie slowed things down on the rebuild and we can only blame ourselves for him. I drove my Torino over the Cypress Structure 20 minutes before the quake, and was on Adeline street in Berkeley when it hit. It felt like I had run over a curb at 35 MPH, and I didn't even know it was a quake until I saw the streetlight poles whipping back and forth. I continued up Shattuck through downtown Berkeley, and by the time I made it to Kittredge street, Hustead's was fully in flames and collapsing on itself.
We had a battery operated radio at home, and they were asking for anyone with a cutting torch to please bring it to the Cypress Structure where it was desperately needed. I hopped on my motorcycle and rode down there to see if they wanted to come get my oxy-acetylene rig, They weren't interested as I had to ride on the sidewalks through chunks of rubble for the last 10 blocks or so. If I'd had a 4X4, I might have been able to get through, but maybe not, and as the magnitude of the disaster was sinking in, they didn't want to gamble a truck on a promise of a welding outfit.
I agree with Todgermanica's assessment of the way folks came together: we were living on MLK way behind MacArthur BART, and remember, this was at the height of the crack epidemic, and just before sundown there were all these people in business clothes with briefcases wandering around the neighborhood trying to figure out how to get home with no public transport at all running, and we were very concerned that they were in a lot of danger, but as far as we could find out, nobody was hurt.
A lot of the damage in West Oakland came from bricks and unreinforced masonry falling off of buildings and onto sidewalks and streets, and I happened to have to walk through A&B towing's impound lot a few days later and saw some of the recovered vehicles... It was a sight I'll never be rid of. There were maybe two dozen cars, squashed, covered in grey concrete dust, and I did a fairly good job at not seeing what the insides of them looked like. There was one long bed, club cab pickup truck that was no more than 18 inches tall.
My friend Rob was at work at Honest Al's wrecking yard right next to the Cypress Structure when it hit, and when he made it to our house, we knew it was bad before he even said anything, because he was white as a sheet, and he's not easily rattled.
I still remember the red sunset from the smoke of the fires in SF that night.
And that was what, a 6.7? Imagine what it's like in Japan where 7 point earthquakes are no big deal...

-Doug in Oakland

Comrade Misfit said...

The majority of the people killed were on the Cypress Freeway. One boy was saved when a surgeon amputated part of his leg while in the rubble.

The closest that I can come to this was seeing a wrecked small white pickup truck behind a gas station. Not knowing anything about it, I walked over for a look. There were a lot of deep red bloodstains. Seems that four or five teenagers were in that little truck, the driver was drunk and rolled it.