Napa quake damage rises to $362 million (w/video)

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Napa County officials increased the damage estimate of Sunday’s earthquake to $362 million Thursday and formally sought federal financial assistance to help begin rebuilding the crumbled structures, shattered windows and damaged economy.

The number, which Napa County’s top administrator cautioned was still just an estimate, includes several public facilities not included in an earlier $300 million figure.

“It’s an evolving number,” said Nancy Watt, Napa County executive officer. “You don’t necessarily see the damage right now. The number will continue to change.”

In an emergency meeting Thursday afternoon, county supervisors approved a resolution that will head to the governor, then to the president, Watt said, requesting that President Barack Obama declare the area a federal disaster zone.

Video: Earthquake footage taken by the commissary cameras at the Napa Valley Wine Train on Sunday, August 24, 2014.

Assuming that happens, she said inspectors from the Federal Emergency Management Agency should arrive in Napa next week to begin reviewing the damage, working with city and county inspectors.

Meanwhile, city and county officials are working to repair broken water lines and are continuing to assess the safety of several buildings damaged in the initial quake and several aftershocks since.

In the city, 60 inspectors are completing a second round of evaluations of damaged structures. As of Thursday morning, 632 structures in the city had been tagged — 116 are on the red-tag list and 513 are yellow-tagged. Red-tagged structures are uninhabitable.

Napa County Public Works Director Steve Lederer said three county buildings and five trailers have been red-tagged, forbidding occupancy. Several others — including the historic Carithers Building and the county’s Hall of Justice, which houses the jail — were yellow-tagged.

The historic courthouse, though, suffered “significant and severe structural damage,” he said. “How badly is still being assessed.”

The building was built in three segments: in about 1878, in the 1910s and in the 1970s. The newer sections weren’t damaged.

A handful of private properties in the county have been red-tagged, Lederer said, including a church, six homes, a bridge and some smaller outbuildings. Fourteen others were yellow-tagged.

“It’s somewhat fluid,” he said, and the numbers likely could rise as inspectors continue their work.

The jail has been approved for staff and inmate occupancy and inmates are receiving appropriate supervision and care, county spokeswoman Molly Rattigan said.

Various county services have been moved to other county buildings.

Much of the damage to county offices was caused not by the quake, but by water damage after pipes failed, Lederer said. That could cause complications later as walls, ceilings and floors have to be removed or dried, or if mold becomes a problem.

Within the city Thursday, 45 water line breaks were still in need of repair. Twenty-seven leaks were fixed within the past day and another 30 are being fixed currently, city spokesman Barry Martin said.

Fewer than 400 homes and businesses remain without water service.

Repairs will continue around-the-clock with the goal of completing all water line repairs by the end of today, Martin said.

Electric and gas service has been restored to all Napa customers, according to PG&E.

Several small sinkholes caused by water main breaks had forced road closures, including a 3-foot-square one discovered Thursday morning on Kensington Circle near Browns Valley.

“They are all small,” he said. “They’re not threatening any structures and are mainly out in the streets.”

City and county officials are just beginning the task of calculating direct economic damages, from lost inventory to businesses that have been forced to close, Martin said.

Napa County creates an estimated $25 billion annually for California’s economy.

Three wineries — Laird Family Estates, Anthem Winery and Trefethen Family Vineyards — have been red-tagged and suffered significant damage.

County officials sent a survey to 238 wineries asking about damage, and 122 reported some damage, said Larry Florin, Napa County’s director of housing and intergovernmental affairs.

Four hotels have closed, at least temporarily, and others received cancellations in the aftermath of the quake.

The Red Cross evacuation center remained in operation Thursday at the Crosswalk Community Church on First Street west of Highway 29. Eight people stayed in the shelter Sunday night, 18 on Monday night, 23 on Tuesday and 36 on Wednesday.

You can reach Lori A. Carter at 762-7297 or lori.carter@ pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @loriacarter.

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