The 1989 earthquake, 21-years ago today

October 17, 2010 20:12 pm · 73 comments

Where were you when the 1989 earthquake struck the Bay Area on October 17th, 1989?

I was a 13-year-old, waiting patiently for the A’s to play the Giants in the third game of the World Series on the afternoon of the 17th, when our home started shaking violently.

It was scary for me, mainly because my dad was on the other side of the tunnel, in Oakland. Fortunately, he had stopped off at a Safeway in Oakland to get some groceries before coming back to Concord. Everything turned out fine for our family, but unfortunately, many families suffered massive heartache.

To read more about the deadly earthquake of 1989, click HERE, and to learn how to make an earthquake preparedness plan, click HERE.

{ 73 comments }

1 Mi_Reality October 17, 2010 at 8:16 PM

I was10 years old and drawing on a chalk board with my friend. We ran outside scared to run to my dad in the hot tub while he was saying, “hey who’s shaking the hot tub!” It was kinda funny… But we were over here in Martinez, not getting the brunt of what others were feeling

2 9 deuce daisy October 17, 2010 at 8:17 PM

I had just stepped off the bus near Sears to drop into the halloween shop that used to go up there every year, on my way to a class at DVC. Class was cancelled that night! Hard to believe it’s been so long.

3 Atticus Thraxx October 17, 2010 at 8:17 PM

I was in Germany on a field exercise along the East German border. Couldn’t call home until I got back to base and The Red Cross squared me away. Scary stuff. Glad I missed it.

4 Cubfan8 October 17, 2010 at 8:18 PM

I was at the corner of Clayton and YV in the Crossroads apts when it hit. We were on the 2nd floor and waiting for the game to start. I remember going to the doorway, thinking it was safer.
I remember the aftershocks being seemingly worse.

5 Suzanne McNutt October 17, 2010 at 8:18 PM

I was laying on my bed reading a book. Husband was on the toilet, when all of a sudden the water started sloshing around! LOL At the same time, I stood up on the bed, and it was like surfing!! “what the hell???” looked out the window and saw a bunch of people running outside, realized something was going on…

6 FARLEY October 17, 2010 at 8:26 PM

i was 6 years old.. also in martinez when it happend.. i remember it felt like it lasted for ever lol! hard to believe it was 21 years ago!! i also remember watching a heart wrenching movie made about it! could you imagine being on the bridge leaving the city and have the top half collapse? scary stuff!

7 taz October 17, 2010 at 8:26 PM

I was home fixing dinner. Yelled at the kids for running through the house and realized my tile floor was moving.
My husband was one of the last people across the bay bridge and the shop he worked at was by the cypress freeway.
Everyone was fine but it was scary stuff.

8 Radar October 17, 2010 at 8:27 PM

I was visiting my parents house in Concord getting ready to watch the game. I thought the mirror on the wall in the living room was was going to get broken since it was banging against it so hard. It still survives today! I think the roof didnt survive as well they needed a new roof a year later.

9 Shasta Daisy October 17, 2010 at 8:29 PM

I was in Attleborro, Massachusetts….just tuning in to watch the baseball game. I heard about the earthquake and immediately called my mother in San Leandro. She was living alone and I was worried sick about her. Fortunately, I was able to reach her and find out that she was OK. She was so frightened and I felt so helpless being so far away. She didn’t sleep for days…neither did I.

10 Babs October 17, 2010 at 8:35 PM

GO GO Gomez and I had just sat down to dinner at the Disneyland Hotel, waiter told us…..rushed back to room…couldn’t get ahold of anyone….tv made it sound like everyone was dead….people were rushing to lobby trying to checkout…..I figured if it was that bad might as well stay put….after 5 days flew home to San Leandro and huge plant in living room had tipped over ….wet mud, broken china…..plus answering machine was full, relatives in England were going nuts….they had just been here so they knew about Nimitz freeway and one of my offices on Park Blvd also 2000 Broadway – AT&T offices were totally destroyed. We lost a pregnant union member in the highway mess, very sad….GO GO Gomez was 11, and was wearing my Dad’s hat the whole trip…grandparents had died in 85 and 88.

11 SMack October 17, 2010 at 8:40 PM

I was 13 and doing math homework when suddenly the radio station I was listening to went off the air and I had just enough time to say “What the?” before the quake reached us (I lived in Napa at the time) then it was hold on for your life time! My mother was driving home from work and she didn’t even feel it.

12 bunnyluver4 October 17, 2010 at 8:43 PM

Wow..I didnt even realize this was the anniversary!! (my sons b-day today)
I lived in San Leandro at the time..What a bumpy ride that was!! Two of my roomies had called from SF and said they were leaving the city in about 10 mins. prior to the earthquake! They didnt arrive home till 2am!! No wonder due to the bay bridge..Holy cow what did we do with out cell phones?? We worried all night!!
We had a giant window in front of the house and I remember the cars in front of the house boucing off the cement!! We ran out turned off the gas to the house!!
Phones were dead to call out but we recieved calls..My Mom in Martinez said her pool in the back yard swirled around and spilled over but that was the worst that happened at her house!!
I pray we dont get another soon…but If so I sure dont live in Alameda county anymore! Hope the Hayward fault stays far away from my house here in Concord!

13 bozo October 17, 2010 at 8:48 PM

I was on a business trip in Alaska , listening to the radio broadcast of the World Series pre-game show while driving back to our motel.

The radio announcers said that the bay bridge had collapsed and that the city was on fire. I agree with Babs…they made it sound like everyone was dead!

I called my fiance in WC and got through right away…he was o.k., but my co-worker couldn’t get ahold of his wife for a long time…he was worried sick until he finally got through to talk to her.

14 Michelle October 17, 2010 at 8:48 PM

13 ! Omg, your just a youngin! Mr Mayor, I had no idea. ;)

15 Man in tan October 17, 2010 at 8:50 PM

I was driving home from Pleasanton on back roads and didn’t feel a thing. Heard about it on the car radio news broadcast which made things very surreal since I had missed it. Got home to find wife shook up holding the baby who didn’t seem to care. No damage but I could see the scrape marks on the hot water heater from the straps. Felt plenty of aftershocks.

16 UH1vce160 October 17, 2010 at 8:51 PM

My wife and I were just getting to our seats behind home plate on the first deck when it hit. We finally got home a little after 2:00 am. We made it over the San Mateo bridge then they closed it behind us. Our answering machine was full and friends back east said the news was saying body bags were being taken out of Candlestick Park. We did make to the game when it was replayed.

17 Captain Concord October 17, 2010 at 8:57 PM

I was a student at Berkeley. We ran outside, waited out the immediate danger, then went back in to do our lab reports. Didn’t realize it was such a big deal until I tried to go home and BART wasn’t running.

18 J October 17, 2010 at 8:58 PM

I was in San Francisco, in my flat, getting ready to go to dinner. My boyfriend (now husband) was waiting for me, and I thought we were going to die. Obviously we didn’t, and the loss of life was relatively low. Still, it was high enough, especially in the Cypress Structure. Horrid memories of hearing the grisly details of that, and of the rumors of collapse when we were in the city without power.

I wrote about it on my blog last year…http://jellyjules.com/?p=2656

19 Dm October 17, 2010 at 9:01 PM

I was 4 1/2 years old living in San Jose and I remember being on the back of my moms bike in one of those seats. We were at a stop sign and she started yelling to stop shaking back and fourth! Then she realized what happened and I had the ride of my life back to the house, my mom can pedal fast as hell! LoL! Chimneys everywhere were collapsed. Our fridge and bookshelves and dressers were all moved far away or knocked over. Oh and broken glass all over kitchen from stuff comin out. It was craziness outside.

20 Friday Afternoon October 17, 2010 at 9:13 PM

At my birthday party in the garage watching the world series. But the conversation was more about how pour the fishing was that day and of the tide. And why nobody had the foresight to check the tides before setting out. That that days 5 foot plus high tide must of moved that days fishing clear up to Rio Vista.

21 Clayton reader October 17, 2010 at 9:16 PM

I was on the 11th floor of a building in downtown Oakland, working, making copies on a Xerox machine. I dove under a table. Meanwhile the very large Xerox machine slid toward me, all the books fell off the shelves over people’s desks, things fell off desks onto the floor. Still, we thought the building just swayed so much because it was on rollers to flex in a quake. We climbed down the 11 floors of stairs to the street, and outside there were glass, bricks, and concrete broken off building facades.

I was scared to walk the 1/2 mile home because there were many tall buildings to walk past, so I walked across the street to a parking lot and was standing there deciding what to do. Eventually, my husband walked down to find me. There were power lines down as we walked back and most people were out in the streets, afraid to go back inside their apartments, as well as wanting to hear what was going on. There was no electricity. We could see smoke in the distance.

Still, we had no idea how bad it was until someone drove up with a tv plugged into their cigarette lighter and the people standing in the street then learned about the Bay Bridge and the Cypress Structure being down.

We ate cold Dinty Moore Beef Stew and graham crackers. The next day, we walked through the streets taking pictures of collapsed chimneys and brick buildings and broken windows. All the businesses were closed.

After that, whenever I was walking or driving, I was constantly thinking ‘if an earthquake happened now, which way would I run, what would I get under?’

22 David Molstad October 17, 2010 at 9:17 PM

Lived in Foster City then in an apartment. Was just walking up to the door when it hit. I grabbed a tree next to the pool hoping I could feel the tree falling and move so it would not land on me. Watched water splash out of the pool. My poor cat, McGee was terrified. No real damage but had no emergency supplies. A friend had a lot of canned goods but had no manual can opener, I did have a manual can opener so it worked out well.

I still keep emergency supplies around, but perhaps not as well organized as they should be. I think I’ll take a few moments and make sure all the supplies are in good shape and organized. And that my pet food and carriers are ready for my pets.

I know where my manual can opener is, a standard military issue P-38.

23 A's Fan October 17, 2010 at 9:20 PM

I was 33. Had just kicked back in the rocker-recliner with a beer. When the quake started I got the wife and kids outside and we watched the in-ground pool move back and forth with 3 foot waves sloshing out. Was a miracle that it did not crack.

24 EdiBirsan October 17, 2010 at 9:31 PM

I was in my office trailer in a container depot in Richmond. I had sent the other two people home early so that they could get ready to watch the ball game. I finished up the work for everyone else and I got on the phone with a buddy of mine from New York who was getting married that Thursday and the conversation carried on longer than I thought. I had just put the phone down when it hit. The trailer was inside a warehouse shell that was a repair yard so the roof made noise like crazy, the lights went out (there were no windows in the trailer so it was pitch black). The trailer shook, I dived under the desk- misjudged the corner of the desk and took it right in collar bone for a major bruise, which would not have been too bad if when it was over I hadn’t smashed my head on the desk corner again trying to get up and then stumbled in the dark to the door picking up some knee shots to distract me from the pain elsewhere. (I never wanted to be a ballerina anyway).
I checked out the formal office of the depot and everyone was ok there.
We had not realized that several of the stacks of chassis for the containers had tipped over in the distant part of the yard but we would find them the next day.
I tried to reach home on the phone but no answer which bothered me a lot since everyone should have been home. I had one of the early mobile phones and headed home via highway 80 then Hwy 4- constantly calling.
I remembered that there was no radio stations on and I hit the search button and got some obscure station and as usual the DJ was asking people to call in with their quake stories. All were woman- this one had the water slide out of the pool, another with pictures off the wall, and one with a kid who said the fish jumped out of the bowl, then someone called in and said that the Bay Bridge had collapsed and the guy hung up on her saying he did not need hysterical rumors. Another person called in to say that the Cypress Expressway -now 980/880 (where I had been one hour before) had collapsed and she was looking at it. He hung up again on her. Then finally someone called in and said that he was the only radio station she find and that scared the hell out of him and he suddenly got all professional.
Meanwhile the speed of everyone on Highway 4 was increasing and there were a few police cars pulled over the side of the road and you could see the officers in some excited conversation on their radios and frustrated looks at their computer screens or whatever stand up racks of communication they had in their car. One guy was banging his radio on the dashboard.
Finally got through on the mobile to the family when I got to Monument to find out that my wife walked down to the store at Treat and Oak Grove and got caught a little in it there. When I arrived home the driveway was cracked as was the floor in the garage (still is to this day in fact) and a few of my military figurines were knocked over but otherwise no real damage.
Took almost two weeks for the black and blue on my collar bone to go away. I immediately bought a flash light for every desk in the office after that.

25 PH Fan October 17, 2010 at 9:34 PM

Mayor – you are young! I was going to the Stevie Nicks concert and was drinking in the parking lot of the Concord Pavilion. Concert got canceled and we sat on our asses for a long time until we could get home.

26 candlestick October 17, 2010 at 9:50 PM

I rode Candlestick. I was getting something at a concession stand when the vendor asked “is that an earthquake?” I thought he was nut until it really got rolling, we both clung to the counter until things stopped moving. When I went back to my seat, everyone around us didn’t realize how serious it was until someone held up a portable tv showing the bay bridge. That’s when we all quietly started heading out to our cars….very quietly with no panic. It was very surreal.

27 Killjoy October 17, 2010 at 9:57 PM

I was at a friends house in Dublin, sitting on the couch about to watch the game. The couch started to shake and I thought it was their teenage daughter giving me a bad time. I looked behind me to see her, and saw the waves in the fish tank splashing out. By then I had realized the house was rolling and it was a quake. The TV (tuned to the game) went dead.
People from across the country started to call to see what happened to the game.

The very next day I was in Oakland taking photos of the mess.
I have images that you have not seen in the media.

I think the Mayor posted some of them last year on the 20th anniversary?

28 Killjoy October 17, 2010 at 9:58 PM

Yeah, only a handful of them online (I just checked). I’ll have to sit down and scan a lot more of them into the computer.

29 Sam October 17, 2010 at 10:06 PM

“ABC News is reporting that the Golden Gate Bridge has collapsed.” lol

30 Mimi (the original) October 17, 2010 at 10:15 PM

I had traveled to Connecticut where my sister had just given birth to my niece. We were getting ready for bed, changing the baby and were planning on sitting down to watch a little tv before bed. Needless-to-say we were up for several hours watching things unfold on the news. We tried calling all our friends and family in the bay area and across California and unable to reach many of them just kept watching tv and being horrified by all the destruction. It was the start of several frightening days.

31 thighs of glory October 17, 2010 at 10:15 PM

I was living in Washington DC. Didn’t give a rat’s ass. It was three days before I could be bothered to find San Francisco on the map. Turns out I was all worried about Disneyland for nothing.

32 inmotion October 17, 2010 at 10:25 PM

I was at Candlestick Park that day with my buddy trying to scalp tickets to the World Series, and then all hell broke loose. All the bridges were closed and it took almost 9 hours to get home to Concord, I saw all the fires throughout the city as we were driving home to the east bay. I will never forget that day, not for the event itself, but for the unselfish actions of the people that we encountered along the way.

33 Anon October 17, 2010 at 10:46 PM

Being newly married at the time, I and my then wife were busy making the earth move. Ironically, it took us about 30 seconds to realize that it wasn’t just the bed that shaking and rolling.

34 The Original Latchkey Mouse October 17, 2010 at 11:06 PM

Great stories everyone!
Like most day during my childhood I was home alone. My brother had moved out and joined the Navy 6 years earlier. My sister still lived with us but was working at Sears that night. My mother was at work running her franchised business and father was in Oakland at a CO working for PacBell.
When the semi-big-one hit, there was a small bit of panic at being alone in a new house, we had just moved back to Concord after spending a year in Antioch, but the Baskin-Robbins was in Pleasant Hill and my high school in Walnut Creek so my parents bought another house since our original Turtle Creek house was bringing in good rental income.
I was in the room across THIS house I’m in now! I had my door open and watched the slab foundation ripple all the way down the hall. My book cases swayed and I luckily braced them a bit. Although, in hindsight a stupid thing to do.
I called my mother and got a busy signal, then my father called me right after I hung up. As we spoke, there was an aftershock!
Interesting experience for a 16 year old, but I was used to earthquakes by then. I remember more clearly the first bigger quake, I felt in 1979. My parents were out to dinner and my brother was working at Black Angus. My sister and I hide under the mahogany coffee table till they came home. :D

35 The Original Richter Mouse October 17, 2010 at 11:10 PM

Hmm, it was either Black Angus or Swenson’s in Park’n’Shop. I didn’t pay too much attention to what my brother did… unless it involved picking on me. :)

36 the Shi ite October 17, 2010 at 11:20 PM

You put this up at 2012!
11:11

37 Jason @ REI Capital October 17, 2010 at 11:35 PM

I was about 10 years old and I was playing nintendo when it hit… Ahhhh those were the days

38 mtzman October 17, 2010 at 11:54 PM

I was in a restaurant in Southern California. When we got there I noticed the TV in the bar said there were technical difficulties, so I couldn’t find out the status of the game. A little while later I asked a guy what the score was. He had obviously been in the bar for awhile and he slurred his speech as he said, “Whoa, there was an earthquake and the Bay Bridge collapsed.” I said, “Yeah, right. Thanks a lot buddy …”

39 bunnyluver4 October 18, 2010 at 12:21 AM

@ thighs of glory..and you read this site because_____??????? your worried about Disneyland??? You obviously dont live here or anywhere close to California and have no clue what an earthquake feels like!! Haha even a little one!!!! Go back to DC…Or better yet..stcik around for the next BIG ONE!!!

40 Babs October 18, 2010 at 12:54 AM

Speaking of the 79 earthquake, now that I was here for…in San Leandro..new house near the Marina…GO GO was one…I was standing in dining room, felt funny…looked out window and the front lawn was moving big time….like a huge snake was under the grass going up and down.

Anyone remember going to work after 89….worked in SF at AT&T Hdqrs Bldg .behind Moscone Ctr is now…..so they let us change our hours so I worked like 430am …I think I took Bart….don’t know if I would do that now…..anyone know anyone that was on Bart?

It’s funny how you remember things….when Princess Diana died…I was up late at night as usual so I heard it on TV as it happened and I called my cousin in England…woke her up and told her….she thought I was nuts.

41 me too October 18, 2010 at 1:52 AM

My boss, at the time, was in the Los Angeles area for a corporate meeting, and he said that the building there swayed so much that they got under the desks, and thought it was a pretty big quake there. Then, when they heard on the news that the quake was in the Bay Area, he went into immediate panic, as he lived in Berkeley, and his wife was at work at Alta Bates. He couldn’t get through, and his flight was cancelled. He couldn’t believe how strong the quake had seemed so far away, and thought the Bay Area must have been nearly wiped off the map.

42 Bryan October 18, 2010 at 3:51 AM

I was driving over Kirker Pass on my way to my then-home in Antioch. I didn’t feel it happen, but I’d been listening to the radio and it blinked off the air. Couldn’t find another station.

I had just driven a truck over the Cypress Freeway an hour earlier. My father lived in the Marina district in the city- I couldn’t get him on the ‘phone. I called work and told them I was taking the next day off to go look for him.

The next day I drove to Vallejo and took the ferry boat across and walked from Pier 39 to the Marina district. It turned out that he was fine, but away from home.

43 soldom October 18, 2010 at 5:51 AM

i was in day care watching the game waiting for my dad to get off work and pick me up when it hit. i was 7

44 thighs of glory October 18, 2010 at 6:01 AM

@39: Sorry, doll. Moved here in ’91, the weekend of the Oakland fire. It wasn’t me. I remember reading a story about a someone who lived up there that morning and happened to see smoke coming up off the lot below her house. She went back to bed. She figured somebody else saw it. too, and they called it in. Her house was one of four on her street that did not burn down. What a self-involved twit, I thought. Surely they can’t all be like that.

45 @bunnyluver October 18, 2010 at 6:41 AM

There are many reasonable/logical possible explanations for thighs’ concern over Disneyland: the earthquake WAS felt strongly in L.A.; thighs was much younger then and likely placed a much greater importance on Disneyland then; depending on her age and knowledge of geography at the time, she may not have realized the distance of Disneyland from the Bay area.

46 Jenn October 18, 2010 at 6:46 AM

I was 4-ish, living in hayward at the time. I remember our dog howling like crazy for several seconds before it happened. We were playing in the backyard at the time- on the side of the house. A bed frame and boxspring my mom had leaning up against the fence that she was getting ready to trash fell on my toddler brother and I remember trying to get him out from under it. It was fine though. My dad was crossing the san mateo bridge and when he got home he said that thing was swaying like a swing. Little did we know what happened to the other bridge =( Mom didnt want to come back into the house for a looong time after that.

47 Al Nonymous October 18, 2010 at 7:55 AM

I was in the Clayton gravel quarry on Mithchell Canyon Road, standing on top of an underground fuel tank. It was flexing like a water balloon in the hands of a two-year old.
You could hear the earth rumble.

48 jtkatec October 18, 2010 at 9:24 AM

That day lives in my memory, like it was just five years ago.

Worked on 19th Ave in Oakland. Remember file cabinets tumbling over.

Remember the streets of Oakland looking like a scene from the Japanese movie Mothra, with cars over heating, cars jammed into intersections with no one moving, everyone panicing to get out and back home. Total chaos.

Glass everywhere in the streets.

Remember numerous helicopters circling overhead.

Groups of business people who had fled the tall buildings congregated in Snow Park by the Lake, and as daylight began to dwindle, groups of hard-looking youths entering into the streets, which urged all ten of us to pile into one car to get out of town.

Remember driving pass small clusters of people walking on the freeway, heading to the Caldecott.

49 Athleticsfan October 18, 2010 at 9:25 AM

I was 14 at the time. I had gone to my bedroom to start watching the World Series when the television went off and everything started moving. I rushed out to the living room area and saw our big fishtank about to topple over, held that up and tried to hang on for my life. We were all kind of freaked out, my mom sent me out on my scooter to pick up my brothers at his friends house. We lived in El Sobrante at the time.

The most surreal thing is that the very next day we had a school trip scheduled to Cal Berkley from De Anza High School that I was attending and we drove around the campus and the Berkley and seeing all the destruction. I have no idea why the school trip wasnt cancelled but it was a weird thing looking out a school bus window looking at all the destruction in the Oakland/Berkley area the next day.

50 jtkatec October 18, 2010 at 9:26 AM

And the fear of driving through the Caldecott, fearing collapse.

I looked at the driver and she looked at me, as we approached the Caldecott, and I told her to drive as fast as she could through the Caldecott, and she replied that was exactly what she was thinking.

51 Babs October 18, 2010 at 9:33 AM

As stated above I was in Disneyland and I don’t remember feeling it at all.

The Oakland fire, I remember having a hard time with all the ash falling on our office on Park Blvd. Also had a church member lose her house and business. They eventually got a divorce over it, one wanted to rebuild and the other didn’t.

52 G-Sphere October 18, 2010 at 9:41 AM

I was approaching the 680-24 interchange. I thought I had 4 flat tires all at once! I pulled over to check my tires and saw another driver doing the same. Then I heard KFOG declare that we had just had a major earthquake. I still didn’t know how big, until I saw the footage of the Bay Bridge.

53 KJ October 18, 2010 at 9:46 AM

I was in a Pacific Heights office building sitting beside two large windows when the quake began. A second or two after it started I decided sitting next to windows probably was not a great place to be, so I walked over to the office door and stood there chatting with my co-workers who had left their offices to stand in the hallway. We were bouncing, but it wasn’t scary like quakes that jolt you around. After a few more seconds, I said to my co-workers, “I think this is a major quake; it’s lasting a long time.”

The only “damage” we had were a few ceiling tiles that fell. Of course, all the car alarms were blaring.

I then walked down to Lombard Street to catch a bus to Marin. As I walked down Fillmore Street, I could see the smoke from the fire in the Marina. Once I was on the bus headed for the Golden Gate Bridge, I got nervous thinking about the possibility that there would be after shots, but we got across the bridge without any problems. From the bridge, I could see the smoke from fires in Oakland.

54 Toadspoad October 18, 2010 at 9:50 AM

I know memories fade, but for those that say they were watching the game? It hadN’T started yet!

55 Danny October 18, 2010 at 10:53 AM

I was 11 years old at the time. I was in Oakland, at home in the living room eating my cup-o-noodles getting ready to watch the A’s vs. Giants in the World Series.

As the quake hit, I remember spilling hot soup on me, so my first reaction was more about the soup spilling all over me than the quake. When the whole living room started to fall apart, I then realized we were having a huge quake.

My mom and I ran to the front door and remained under the door way. Looking out the door, what I saw was the scariest thing I ever seen.

The ground before us literally rolled from left to right, as if monsters were underground getting ready to bust out and attack us. The neighbors houses and apartment complexes were swaying left to right, like high winds blowing trees. People who ran outside were being tossed every where. My mom and I barely managed to remain standing ourselves. From both up close and far away, there were sounds of cars screeching, horns honked, people screaming and I remember hearing a few accidents taking place all while the loud rumble of the quake surrounded me. Tree branches falling, dogs going hysterical, people screaming and crying. It was everything a disaster movie has, only I was living in it.

When the quake finally stopped, everything just went silent for a moment. The people got quiet, the lights went out, every one and every thing just hushed. The way people stood (or laid) in place, looking paralyzed or too scared to move was one of the most freakiest parts. As if coordinated, everyone just kinda stared at each other as if they were locked in some kind of trance or shock with a horrified look on their faces. It was horror movie freaky.

With the first quake done, the lights going out didn’t help my hears. The sun was already setting and it was getting dark fast. Phones didn’t work either. Everyone was too afraid to go out. Then making it even worse, were the aftershocks. There were so many of them.

Since then, every little earthquake-like shake makes me panic. It was a crazy week in the Bay. Excitement from the World Series. Fear from the quakes.

56 LostBoysMom October 18, 2010 at 12:02 PM

I was 8 1/2 months pregnant. My husband and I were just getting into Monterey (very close to the epicenter) for a weekend away. We had just turned the game on the radio when my husband pulled over because he thought we had a flat tire. Several people behind us thought the same and had pulled over when someone came out of a small store and said we had just had an earthquake. The power was out all over and we could not get any gas. We had no reservations so we pulled into the closest hotel and checked in. They brought out sandwiches and chips in the lobby. People were awful. Here I was obviously pregnant and everybody grabbed all the food. We heard the reports of the bridge and fires that made it sound worse than it was. Everyone was in line for the pay phones but many people could not get through. So everyone got one chance and then had to go to the back of the line. We finally reached my brother in Concord who said they watched the water slosh around in their pool but otherwise were fine. My parents were visitng relatives on the east coast so I knew they were ok. A friend who was taking care of our dogs (Mama and nine puppies) checked our house and they were fine. We were able to get dinner in the hotel restaurant by candlelight. We were sitting by the window overlooking the ocean and a waiter came by and said he didn’t want to scare anyone but there might be a tidal wave. We stayed up most of the night listening to a battery radio we had. We headed home the next morning after paying the full rate for a hotel with no electricity. Quite the adventure but so sad for those who lost their lives.

57 Mom! October 18, 2010 at 12:43 PM

I was at Sac State taking an Economics test. While I didn’t feel, I heard of others on campus who did. I was anxious to hear how my family members who worked in SF fared. Luckily, my family was fine. I just remember the sick, sick feeling in my stomach as the details came out. Such a tragedy.

58 I'm The Urban Spaceman October 18, 2010 at 1:06 PM

I was in Petrini’s in Stonestown in The City, getting ready to check out when I felt the floor moving…I turned to my friend Scott and said we’re having an earthquake. At that point it started to get strong, I grabbed him by the collar and said follow me, dropping the basket we fled past the liquor aisle as all the bottles on the shelves came crashing down. Leaving the food was the dumb part, safely outside we walked back to Verducci Hall to find it closed, (and it would be for a few more weeks). We drove up to Twin Peaks the next morning and the whole town was eerily quiet except for Emergency vehicles racing around.

59 Athleticsfan October 18, 2010 at 1:12 PM

To number 54 Toad.

The game had not begun but the pre game stuff was.

60 I was 11 then October 18, 2010 at 1:15 PM

I was 11 during the earthquake. I was riding my bike to soccer practice in Pleasanton and was a few minutes late. My bike went a bit crazy, and then a construction worker told me to get off my f***ing bike since we just had an earthquake. A few minutes later, my mom showed up to pick my friend and me up. She even brought the dog in the car!. My friend had to stay until 2 in the morning because her mom was at the game and took forever to get home. Mostly, I remember watching the rescue efforts for days afterwards and was amazed at all the people that survived the bridge collapse.

61 Re: #58, Re: Verducci Hall October 18, 2010 at 1:30 PM

Here’s what happened to Verducci Hall at SFSU
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0JQZM5nA-l0

62 Mommy B October 18, 2010 at 1:57 PM

I was 11 at the time. We lived in some ghetto apts in Antioch. I was sitting on the edge of the bed getting ready to watch the game with 1 of my brothers. My other brother started running through the apt screaming “EARTHQUAKE”. We all jumped up & like dummies ran outside. A transformer blew up & I remember this poor lil girl around 4 yrs old kneeling as close to the ground as possible, crying, wanting to know what was wrong with the ground. Craziness!

63 Chris October 18, 2010 at 2:04 PM

It shows the CNN breaking news video. It’s too bad that CNN has become so lusy because of liberal bias, like all of the other networks, except Fox News which is fair and balanced.

64 Rebecca October 18, 2010 at 5:18 PM

I was putting my make up on getting ready for the Stevie Nicks concert at the pavillion. My house shook so bad that I stabbed myself in the eye with the mascara and damaged my cornea.

65 Antler October 18, 2010 at 9:46 PM

When the Loma Prieta Earthquake hit, I was in my home studio teaching a piano lesson to an adult student. That quake was different from the usual mild “clunk-clunk” settling variety. We have a masonry home with a very heavy roof; so we have been advised to go outside away from wires during an earthquake, which is what the student and I did. We stood on the front lawn, our first impulse being to focus on the horizon where the hills in the Naval Weapons Station meet the sky. But we and the hills themselves were moving not quite in synch, so we both commented that we were feeling very queasy. When we turned back around to face the house, we could see (as The Original Latchkey Mouse remembered in #34) that there was a pronounced ripple going continuously from roughly SW to NE through the concrete front walk. I mentally said good-bye to my antique patterned-glass collection and other fragile items inside and just hoped the cat had stayed safely under the bed where she usually took her afternoon nap. As soon as the quake stopped, we went back inside to continue the lesson. I stopped in awe as we entered the house. Every single picture on the living room, studio, and dining room walls was in normal mode….. exactly straight up and down! No glassware was out of position; but I had not dusted in several days, and you could see where each thing (including table lamps) had dusted an absolutely symmetrical circle (about 3 inches in diameter wider than its own footprint) around itself and then had returned to the exact center!!!

A few minutes later, a friend of ours who was the father of the next student came through the front door with the little girl and blurted, “The car radio just said that the Bay Bridge has collapsed!!! Can I turn on your television?” I could hear the faint sound of the audio from out in the family room, so I know we didn’t lose TV for at least the next 40 minutes. The telephone answering machine picked up messages from our adult children in Martinez and Antioch checking in to let me know they were all right; they mentioned hearing that Concord didn’t have much damage and that they would assume I was teaching unless I let them know otherwise.

I had lessons to teach straight through until 8 p.m.. The TV was fine when I turned it on at that time. I was able to watch with sadness up until the time they started showing footage of the neighborhood looters climbing up and into the collapsed layers of the Oakland freeway and stealing from the bodies and people trapped inside their vehicles. That filled me with such revulsion that I couldn’t watch anymore TV coverage during the following days, but I did listen to NPR and KGO reports.

My husband was up in the Shackleford Falls canyon and the wilderness area of the Marble Mountains way up north in Siskiyou County at the time, and he didn’t even know about the earthquake until about a week later when he came back down to Bob’s Ranch House Restaurant in Etna and the owner asked him, “Is your family all right down there after the quake?” So then he called home.

Meant to tell you that the morning after the Loma Prieta Quake, I went through the house and checked everything on walls and surfaces. The only thing that had even toppled over was an antique, woven sea-grass church fan (the kind you wave back and forth with one hand), which I had displayed tilted on its side against a small gold-prospector’s smelter. It was such an eerie feeling, and I still am so sad thinking of the fright and the deaths, injuries, and immense property damage that occurred elsewhere.

66 Just a Mom October 18, 2010 at 10:13 PM

I was 20 (man Mayor, I didn’t realize you were so young) and living and working in the city. I was just getting off work when the earthquake started. I was across the street from 101 California. I looked down the street and there was a blue Chronicle newspaper van coming up the street on what appeared to be a set of 4 to 5 foot waves. I looked up and the tops of the skyscrapers were swaying in circles. They looked so close together that I thought for sure they’d crash into each other or come crashing down. After the initial earthquake, I ended up having to walk home (no electric so no buses or Muni/gas powered buses were already over full) from downtown to end of Haight Street by Golden Gate Park. It was a pretty long haul, mostly up hill, pitch black not to mention the fights and looting that were going on everywhere. I was praying for safety and wishing I could click my heels together 3 times and I miraculously be home. There’s no place like home, there’s no place like home, there’s no place like home……

67 AndrewV October 19, 2010 at 11:10 AM

In 1989 I was in the Navy in Virginia. As it happened I was in a phone booth just outside of the gate of the Newport News shipyard dialing my parents house in Concord to talk to them about the World Series right as the quake struck. So I was on the other side of the country telling over the phone what to do to, check for gas leaks, try channel 3 out of Sacramento for news, etc.

After that I spent the rest of the night watching the news coverage in a bar and back on ship. That and calling my relatives in other parts of the country who couldn’t get a call into the bay area to let them know my family was ok.

68 Channel 3 in Sac was the only ... October 19, 2010 at 11:30 AM

… local station broadcasting right after the earthquake.

Who’s that old dude Channel 3 news anchor that sells bathtubs now?

Oh, yeah, Stan Atkinson. He was old in 1989 and that quake made his voice quake when he reported “it seems we have just had a small earthquake” … meanwhile the vertical blinds behind him were swaying left and right and the studio lights were mostly out.

Stan’s voice cracked like a teenage boy at pooberty.

69 Cowellian October 19, 2010 at 12:12 PM

We lived in Pittsburg back then. I had just turned the TV on to see the game. The announcers were sitting there, not saying a word, with a look of shock on their faces. I couldn’t figure out why they weren’t talking about the game. THEN the rocking began.

We didn’t have any damage at all. Our younger kids were out on the swing-set, and they feel a thing. Later, they came in to tell me about the waves on the neighbor’s above-ground pool.

70 Lisa October 20, 2010 at 10:59 AM

I was on the Bay bridge just before it collapsed. Ran as fast as I could to Treasure Island and then hitched a ride from there to Concord where I was living. Always my biggest fear since I was a child to be in S.F. or on the bridge during an earthquake. I will never forget that day.

71 Lisa October 20, 2010 at 11:04 AM

Ironically, when reading the info. regarding tomarrow’s s participation for the drill, it says the drill is at 10:21 am and I was reading it at 10:21 today.

72 How did you jump the gap? October 20, 2010 at 11:51 AM

If the bridge was collapsed, how did you hitch a ride to Concord?

By water Taxi?

73 anonamom October 20, 2010 at 1:51 PM

Sorry #72 but that’s a dumb question. Do you think everyone on the bridge just sat there for the months it took to repair it? Cars were turned around, driven the ‘wrong way’ back into the City, and took other bridges to get home!

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