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Napa faces big challenges after quake (w/video)

  • Mark Van Til, left, and Richard Trimble try to repair broken windows at The Roost Napa after a 6.0 earthquake in on Sunday, August 24, 2014 in Napa, California. (BETH SCHLANKER/ The Press Democrat)

Napa residents faced significant challenges Monday in the aftermath of a powerful earthquake that cut off water to hundreds, closed schools and businesses and left scores with lingering injuries.

As aftershocks from Sunday’s magnitude-6.0 temblor rattled windows and while helicopters circled overhead, most of downtown remained closed to traffic, the streets filled instead with onlookers and a large number of media trucks.

The list of commercial buildings and homes deemed too unsafe to enter also grew, as inspectors from across the Bay Area continued assessing damage from the region’s most destructive earthquake in a quarter-century. Napa officials have yet to release a damage estimate, a figure they will need to secure federal aid. The U.S. Geological Survey has estimated that damage and economic losses from the quake could top $1 billion.

Aftermath Of Napa Earthquake


For many of those affected, just getting through the day was a struggle. At Napa Valley Mobile Home Park in north Napa, 67-year-old Patty Harras and her husband, Hermman Lehman, 75, filled buckets with swimming pool water so they could flush their toilets.

“We can get by,” Harras said. “We’d just like to use the facilities.”

As many as 400 people who live at the Orchard Avenue mobile home park were without water and gas, with no timeline for services to be restored. As volunteers from the Salvation Army provided meals to the residents, acrid smoke hung in the air a day after an earthquake-caused blaze destroyed four homes and damaged two others.

About 600 of the city’s 20,000 properties remained without water Monday as a result of about 90 water leaks, said Jack Larochelle, Napa’s public works director. He said he hoped to have water fully restored by Thursday, with priority given to the largest users, such as apartment dwellers.

“We’re doing our level best,” Larochelle said.

Doug Davis, who manages Napa Valley Mobile Home Park, said the complex of about 250 homes reserved for people over the age of 50 should be on that priority list.

“We’ve got elderly people out here. They need water to shower and use the toilets,” he said.

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