Oct.17 – The 28th Anniversary of the Loma Prieta Earthquake

October 17, 2017 8:00 am · 32 comments



Today is the 28th anniversary of the Loma Prieta Earthquake.

It happened on October 17th, 1989, and measured 6.9 on the richter scale. It killed 63 people and injured thousands more.

Do you remember the quake, and if so, where were you when it happened on October 17, 1989 at 5:04pm?

1 anon October 17, 2017 at 8:05 AM

Game 3 World Series at Candlestick!! Pretty intense

2 Wave October 17, 2017 at 8:35 AM

I certainly do…I was still working and was in a van pool. At that time, we could leave our cars at the old Montgomery Ward’s parking lot to catch the van pool,

When we returned that evening to our cars, we felt a lot of shaking….the van pool members though we had hit some bumps on the asphalt parking lot. We were lucky we left work early and missed the partial collapse on the Bay Bridge.

3 Kentucky Derby October 17, 2017 at 8:40 AM

We were at the World Series. With family and friends – all A’s fans. We hadn’t been there long, and it took awhile to get out.

4 94521 October 17, 2017 at 8:47 AM

A classroom at SF State…..

5 King Archie the Invincible October 17, 2017 at 8:51 AM

Sitting on a BART train at 12th Street Station. When the car shook, I thought a really heavy person had gotten on, but then saw some guy on the platform holding onto one of the support columns. BART management decided to move the train slowly to MacArthur to let the operator look for track damage and then realized how stupid that was, so they shut us down for over an hour while someone walked the tracks. We then were taken to MacArthur where they dumped us without any contingency. Two hours later they had some buses that made all the regular train stops. I got home 4 hours late, but got home and to a home undamaged!

6 ClayDen October 17, 2017 at 8:57 AM

I didn’t feel a thing, but I happened to be in Washington DC on a business trip at the time. It took me two hours of trying to get through to my wife to no avail, then she was able to get through to me.

7 WC Res October 17, 2017 at 9:06 AM

@King Archie I was on that same train.

8 Suzanne October 17, 2017 at 9:11 AM

Was driving on Foothill Rd in Pleasanton listening to KCBS. Radio signal kept cutting in and out but I caught the words “earth quake”, then I felt it shake the car. All I could think of was the 1911 house I had just moved into was collapsed and I drove as fast as I could (always obeying the speed limit of course ;-)). Got home to find only my kitchen cupboard doors had all popped open, some pictures fell off the tv and the desk door had fallen open. I guess they knew how to build those old houses!

9 Jojo Potato October 17, 2017 at 9:26 AM

That amateur video is great. I had the best commute ever for the next few months since I was going from W.C. to Alameda and with the bridge out Highway 24 was mostly empty. No one going to SF that way. I was sad when the bridge got fixed and traffic was back to normal.

10 Future Catlady October 17, 2017 at 9:39 AM

I remember it quite well. I was getting ready to leave work in the financial district, on the 9th floor of an office building. All of a sudden things shook like crazy. It felt as though the building was going to collapse. So far that’s been the scariest moment of my life.

11 Mimi (original) October 17, 2017 at 10:07 AM

I was in Connecticut helping my sister following the birth of her child. Simply had the game on when all heck broke loose in the stadium! Following that had the news on 24/7 for the next few days!

12 Dorothy October 17, 2017 at 10:17 AM

Was driving from Concord BART on Leland in Pittsburg. At the time, that road had a lot of potholes so I didn’t really feel the earthquake, just thought there were more potholes. When we got to my brother’s place my nieces were under the kitchen table and our mother was upset. Neither of us really felt it.

13 Left Concord, and happy about it October 17, 2017 at 10:19 AM

Walking up Silver Creek Circle in Antioch, delivering papers on my paper route. I was a 7nth grader at AJHS. Watched the pool pump drains at the sidewalks, on the various houses, blow out an arching spout of pool water. Reminded me of a fountain. Didn’t feel the earthquake so much but realized it occurred when I got home and my parents were watching the news.

14 Dawg October 17, 2017 at 10:28 AM

I was working at the Port of Oakland and we could see the Bay Bridge when it collapsed. The worst part was the drive home to Concord from Oakland, it literally took half an hour to drive through the Caldecott Tunnel. All I heard on the radio was the collapse of the bridge, the Cypress structure and the homes in the Marina District. Being stuck in heavy traffic in the middle of the Caldecott Tunnel was scary and all I wanted to do was get out before it too collapsed.
There are a few days I will always remember where I was and what I was doing, the Loma Prieta Earthquake, the day Kennedy was shot, the day John Lennon was shot, and 9/11.

15 WC resident October 17, 2017 at 10:37 AM

I was at work at the Oakland Airport. My office was in a two story wood building which creaked and groaned a lot and then we lost power. I don’t think anything serious fell over.

I assumed that the Oakland Maze would be damaged or closed and so to get home that day I went up 98th Ave to highway 13. My plan if I discovered the tunnel was closed was to take one of the back roads that went over the hills.

Like Jojo Potato, the commute was great for a long time after that due to both the bay bridge being down and that the Cypress freeway was down.

16 Roz October 17, 2017 at 10:40 AM

Yes,..happened on my Birthday,..60 years young today.

17 Silva October 17, 2017 at 10:40 AM

In my job a block from the Berkeley campus. We had no phone service, computers, or electricity so we couldn’t do anything but we were good worker bees and stayed till closing time, locking up at 5:30. We had shelves packed from floor to ceiling, and nothing fell. Didn’t know how bad it was till I got home and saw the Cypress structure 2 blocks away. It had taken 2 hours to get my toddler and get across town. We stayed up all night in the dark, listening to many helicopters. I was the only one the panicked owner of the business where I worked could get hold of by phone from Alamo. I was surprised when it rang at around 10:00 pm, as it hadn’t worked at all for me. He took a good bit of convincing that none of the street level plate glass windows were broken, the door was locked up, the place was unblemished and all was fine there.

18 Kirkwood October 17, 2017 at 11:07 AM

Had just finished dinner here in Kirkwood, shaking started and power went out. Water from neighbor’s pool sloshed into my yard. As a City employee, I had to immediately report to work. All signals were out down Concord Blvd but at intersections I’d never seen so many polite drivers! Fortunately no damage at home or work.

19 CLAYCORD.com October 17, 2017 at 11:58 AM

Happy Birthday, Roz.

20 at home October 17, 2017 at 12:21 PM

I was living in Martinez at the time. I looked out my front window and could see the street literally rolling. So scary.

21 Kirkwood October 17, 2017 at 1:12 PM

A friend was at Heather Farm at the time, he watched the first wave move visibly across the park, trees shaking at one end and then at the other, south to north.

22 Bluebird October 17, 2017 at 1:52 PM

I was driving home from work. I worked in Pleasanton and lived in Pleasanton. At 5:04p, I suddenly felt dizzy and the street light in front of Foothill High School started flashing red. I didn’t know what was going on until I arrived home, and my husband and neighbors were all out in front due to all the shaking going on inside!

23 Pony October 17, 2017 at 1:56 PM

Was living in Richfield MN at the time. Got home just in time to turn the game on. I remember in the opening lead McCarver was talking about plays in game 2 when the image broke up and you could hear Michaels saying ‘ I’ll tell you what, we’re having an earth….’

24 RunnerDope October 17, 2017 at 2:06 PM

I was in the shower at 24 Hr Fitness in Walnut Creek. They told us to evacuate immediately, but I decided to put my clothes on first.

25 Jojo Potato October 17, 2017 at 2:41 PM

Gee WC resident, I thought we might eventually agree on something. Nice to meet you!

26 Silva October 17, 2017 at 2:44 PM

Hey Roz, happy birthday to you!

My husband reminded me earlier, he had just showered at home after clearing poison oak at work when he felt the rocking and rolling start on our second story 1925 wood frame house. When he got to the front door he remembered he was in his birthday suit, and ran back to the bathroom for his clothes.

27 ciaobello October 17, 2017 at 4:39 PM

17th and Taraval in the city with my young children. We had just played tennis by their grammar school. My daughter was in Safeway by herself. My coworker was killed leaving a young family. We waited for my husband to come home and tomorrow is his birthday.

28 ClayDen October 17, 2017 at 7:26 PM

A friend of mine was driving home from work on the Cypress Structure, but had to get off for a “bio break.” About 30 seconds after he exited, it came down.

29 TeacherMom October 17, 2017 at 7:32 PM

I was driving the 680 freeway. Thought I had a tire blowout until I saw all cars stopping. We all just sat there, parked on the freeway. Then I looked over and saw signals and light poles swaying so much that I was afraid they would fall on the cars below, but it became apparent that they are very well built. Drove home immediately after to see my children, and was shocked to see that the cantelever section of the Bay Bridge had failed.

30 danielle October 17, 2017 at 9:38 PM

I was in preschool (2 years old) in Concord at the time. My mom was just outside the building talking to one of my friends mom when it hit. She told me when she ran inside to get me i was holding on to one of the railings along the wall laughing because i thought it was a ride. Made her feel better that I wasn’t scared but I know she was. Luckily both her and my Dad got off work early that day (she worked in one of the Embarcadero buildings and my dad worked throughout SF) so they were already back in our home area.

31 Giddyup October 17, 2017 at 10:58 PM

My cat was in the backyard annoying the squirrels and I had just gone out to get him in for the day. It suddenly became very quiet and he ran under a large cedar and hid from me against the trunk. The leaves on the trees began to shake as if a breeze blew through, but there was dead calm. Then, from the Southwest corner of the yard came a wave moving to the Northeast toward where my cat was huddled under the cedar, and everything shook for several seconds. I retrieved my cat and went inside where the game was on tv and they were saying we had an earthquake. It was the only earthquake I in which I have ever seen earth movement and heard the shaking as well as felt it. Very unusual experience. I was told that the earth does not make a wave like the one I saw, that it is actually an optical illusion, but you could not prove it by me,

32 MovingOutOfCA October 18, 2017 at 12:28 PM

I was in commute traffic on the 405 in LA. I was living down there for college, while all my family was in the Bay Area. Being on the 405, at 2 mph, no cell phone, and hearing the reports, I was terrified for my family and friends. It took over 4 hours before I made contact with family. I will never forget that day.

My mom and mother in law were both in the city. Both were ok, and had interesting stories to tell.

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