Re: What was it like inside home during '89 quake?

03/07/14 - posted by Frank Dunnigan

First of all, itís very hard to believe that it was nearly 25 years ago!

At the time of the quake, I was driving west on Winston Drive past the old Sutro Library, after grocery shopping at Petriniís in Stonestown. My first reaction was that I had a flat tire, which annoyed me greatly since I had just bought 4 new tires and had the car serviced earlier that week. As I was driving past Lowell, I saw a lot of cars bouncing up and down and heard several car alarms. Once I reached Lake Merced Boulevard, several motorists had stopped, and were walking around their cars, looking at their tires.

As I continued home to 22nd & Pacheco, I saw that the traffic signals were out on Sunset Boulevard, and realized that it must have been an earthquake. Avoiding Taraval and Noriega, I turned off Sunset at Ortega, and saw lots of elderly grandparents on the sidewalks with their grandchildren. Once I arrived at home, there were a LOT of things tossed off bookshelves, and glasses/dishes thrown out of the kitchen cabinets, though no furniture had toppled over. Only later did I realize that the splotches of sand on the front lawn were the result of liquefaction. By contrast, Momís house, just a few blocks away at 18th & Vicente had ZERO damageójust a small vase had toppled over onto its side, but was unbroken, though my auntís apartment at Stonestown had many furniture items and lamps knocked over and broken, plus many broken dishes.

Phone service was disrupted and it often took a full minute or more to get a dial toneóif you could get one at all. The worst part was no electricity for several hours afterwards and the fear that the ďbig oneĒ was still coming. I slept with a flashlight in my pillowcase for nearly a year after that!

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