Napa's people, buildings hit hard by 6.0 earthquake

  • On Brown Street in downtown Napa, Sunday Aug. 24, 2014 onlookers gather around one of many historic structures that were damaged by the Napa temblor that tipped the scales at 6.0. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat)

NAPA — The largest earthquake to hit the Bay Area in a quarter century struck the North Bay at 3:20 a.m. Sunday morning, injuring nearly 200 people — most in Napa County — while touching off fires that destroyed at least six homes, buckling local roads, and damaging dozens of buildings in Napa and across the region.

The magnitude 6.0 quake, centered about four miles northwest of American Canyon, knocked out power to more than 60,000 people in Napa and Sonoma counties early Sunday and broke dozens of water mains that could leave 600 Napa homes without water for days, according to the city.

By midday, Gov. Jerry Brown had declared a state of emergency, directing assistance to Napa, which appeared to be the hardest hit across the region. The temblor, which lasted up to 20 seconds in some spots and took place at a depth of 6.7 miles, shook a greater metropolitan area home to 7 million people and was felt as far away as Sacramento and Salinas, about 120 miles away, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The agency estimated that economic losses could be up to $1 billion.

Napa Damage From 6.0 Earthquake


Across the region, the quake jolted residents out of bed, forcing some to flee through dark rooms littered with broken glass and displaced furniture. Others evacuated in the face of flames, with only seconds to grab pets, cellphones and other belongings.

“It blew us out of bed,” said Andre Van Derheyden, a resident of Napa Valley Mobile Home Park, where four homes were destroyed by fire Sunday and two others seriously damaged.

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By the time the couple were able to gather their dog and get outside, the mobile home next door was on fire, Van Derheyden said. The resident, a woman, was able to escape, but her home was a total loss.

“Thank heaven we are fine, but I feel so bad for my neighbor,” said Van Derheyden.

Queen of the Valley Medical Center in Napa treated about 200 people by Sunday evening, taking in patients through a triage center outside the facility’s front doors. Most suffered cuts from broken glass and bruises from falling objects.

Two people were critically injured, including 14-year-old Nicholas Dillon who was stabilized at the hospital’s triage center before he was flown to UC Davis Medical Center, spokeswoman Vanessa deGier said. The boy, who was in serious condition Sunday night, was injured when a brick fireplace collapsed on him, Napa city spokesman Barry Martin said.

The other seriously injured patient was an adult who suffered multiple fractures, deGier said.

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