State of emergency declared after Calif. quake

NAPA, Calif. — California Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency for Napa, Solano, and Sonoma counties Sunday after a magnitude-6.0 earthquake rattled Northern California early Sunday, leaving dozens wounded, thousands without power and hundreds of buildings damaged.

The quake struck at 3:20 a.m. PT near American Canyon about 6 miles southwest of Napa, the U.S. Geological Survey reported. It's the largest quake to hit the Napa Valley region since the Loma Prieta temblor in 1989.

Kelly Huston, a deputy director with the California Office of Emergency Services, said there were no reports of fatalities, but dozens were taken to local hospitals. Most injuries, he anticipated, would be from falling objects and debris.

Napa's local hospital, Queen of the Valley Medical Center, has treated or is treating 87 patients. Three of the injuries are critical: one child injured by a falling chimney and two adults.

Huston said there were several active fires burning in the area of the quake and that the state was dispatching urban search and rescue teams "much like we would on a wildfire." He said state officials would do a flyover shortly to assess damage. Further inspections could reveal more damage, he warned.

At a news conference Sunday morning, county officials said there are at least 30 water main breaks, 100-plus gas leaks and dozens of "red tagged" buildings that are too dangerous to enter. The water remains safe to drink.

Six structure fires were reported, John Callanan, Napa fire chief, said. In one of those fires, four mobile homes were destroyed.

At least 64,000 people are without power, state emergency officials say. The hardest hit area is Napa, where 20,786 homes and businesses have lost power, according to Pacific Gas & Electric, the largest power provider in the area. Other hard hit areas include Saint Helena, where nearly 4,300 customers are without power, Santa Rosa, where 4,500 customers have lost power and Sonoma, where 3,900 customers have lost power.

Napa Police Capt. Steve Potter said the area's 911 system was "briefly" overwhelmed by calls that came in shortly after the quake but the system quickly came back.

There were no reported highway blockages, though Huston said there was a report of a buckled offramp on state Highway 72 at Sonoma.

In downtown Napa, the full extent of a magnitude-6.0 earthquake was becoming clear Sunday morning in this picturesque town known for its lush vineyards, robust wines and rolling hills.

Throughout the downtown area, there was no power. Alarms of all kinds — fire, burglar and car — were blaring.

Residents trickled into the five blocks that make up the historic downtown to see the damage. On Second Street, the masonry, wires and girders that make up the corner of the roof of a three-story historic building hung precariously over the sidewalk. A gaping hole is left where the masonry used to be. On the ground below a pile of bricks and rubble littered the sidewalk. Falling concrete damaged trees.

The historic Napa Valley Courthouse lost a portion of its roof and police have begun to cordon off sections of the downtown to keep crowds away from the debris. Two other historical buildings — the Sam Kee Laundry, the Goodman Library — were also damaged.

The state has not requested federal assistance, as it was still evaluating the damage, Brad Alexander, chief of media relations for California's Office of Emergency Services, said.

"My Office of Emergency Services has been on full activation since early this morning and is working closely with state and local emergency managers, first responders and transportation officials to respond to impacts to residents and critical infrastructure," the governor said in a statement. "These public safety officials are doing all they can to help residents and those living in affected areas should follow their guidance and instruction."

Douglas Edwards, 27, Napa resident, said the earthquake woke him up from a sound sleep.

"It was shaking so hard I was barely able to get myself and my daughter out," he said. "When I stood up, the floor moved so much, I fell back down again. I ran outside and you could see the transformers exploding in the sky. It was just flash, flash, flash."

Napa County Supervisor Bill Dodd inspected damage at the Napa County administration building Sunday morning.

"It's devastated in there," he said. Ceilings collapsed, furniture scattered and file cabinets were upturned and on the floor. Dodd said normally the building would have been the site of emergency services coordination, however, because of the damage, emergency operations were moved to the sheriff's office in the southern part of the county.

"It'll be some time before we can go back to work in there," he said.

Dodd said the historic three-story Winship building, which lost a corner of its roof, looks to be a total loss. He said it had been completely renovated 10 years ago, and the renovation included a seismic upgrade, which is supposed to make buildings able to withstand an earthquake.

In the city of Sonoma, west of Napa, police and fire officials reported no significant damage or injuries from the earthquake, officials said on the city's website. It said they had no information from PG&E about when power would be restored to those homes and businesses experiences outages.

The quake — which occurred at a depth of just less than 7 miles — was felt as far north as Sacramento and as far south as Santa Cruz and was immediately followed by a series of small aftershocks.

The USGS said the quake is likely to produce 30 to 70 small aftershocks with magnitude 3 to 5 within the next week. The probability of a strong and possibly damaging aftershock with a magnitude of 5 or greater in the next week is 54%, the USGS said.

The quake is the strongest non-Alaska temblor to hit the USA so far this year, according to USGS. About five quakes of this magnitude or stronger hit the USA each year, many in or near Alaska.

Contributing: Greg Toppo, Donna Leinwand Leger, Katharine Lackey, Marisol Bello and Doyle Rice from McLean, Va.; and Catalina Camia from D.C.


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