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'It kicked me out of bed': Napa residents recount earthquake

Napa California earthquake damage A man surveys damage after a 6.0 earthquake rattled Napa, California, on Sunday.
Credit: Getty Images

An earthquake of 6.0 magnitude rocked the San Francisco Bay area early on Sunday, seriously injuring two people, damaging historic buildings, setting some homes on fire and causing power outages in the wine country around Napa.

The biggest quake in the region in 25 years jolted many residents out of bed when it hit at 3:20 a.m. PST, about 6 miles south of the city of Napa.


Two people were seriously injured in the earthquake, but no fatalities have been reported, said Barry Martin, public information officer for Napa.Firefighters were still trying to put out mobile home fires, he said.

Most damage appeared centered around Napa, a famous wine-producing region.Unreinforced masonry buildings in downtown Napa including the historic courthouse and the library suffered major damage, city officials said.

Fires were reported in north Napa, as well as several water line breaks and many broken windows and buildings with interior damage, the city's website said.

"Everything was just shaking, the hanging lamps waving back and forth," said Omar Lopez, 24, night clerk at a small inn in St. Helena, 15 minutes outside of Napa.

"Guests came into the front desk after the quake and they said the swimming pool looked like a bunch of people had jumped in at the same time.”

The U.S. Geological Survey said the epicenter of the quake was 5 miles northwest of the town of American Canyon, on the northern edge of the Bay.

'Woke us all up'

The quake was the largest to hit the Bay area since the Loma Prieto quake in 1989.

"It was long. I think it was the biggest one since I felt since I felt the 1989 quake," said Stephanie Martin, 47, a nursing assistant in Oakland. "Nothing tipped over, thank God. Rolling back and forth. Just woke us all up."

A local CBS affiliate showed a few house fires and buildings in downtown Napa with minor structural damage, such as bricks falling off a facade. It showed grocery aisles with wine and other products spilled onto the floor, water streaming from some broken mains, and said one local highway was closed.

“Oh, I felt it. When I woke up I was lying on the floor. It kicked me out of bed,” said Keith, a man who lives in Napa and who wanted to be identified only by his first name.

He said he went right into his job at the front desk of a Napa hotel, leaving his house in disorder. “The house is a mess, everything is out of the cabinets in the kitchen. Dressers tipped over.”

The quake was followed by small aftershocks.

"It is the strongest quake in a 60-mile (100-km) radius from the epicenter of this quake in several decades," said Randy Baldwin, a USGS geophysicist, "It was a shallow quake and there are lots of aftershocks."

He said most of the aftershocks were around magnitude 2 range. Aftershocks can continue for the next several weeks and experts will watch their distribution to determine if this quake happened on a fault line, Baldwin said.

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