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article imageQuake-hit Napa starts putting things back together

By Nathan Salant     Aug 26, 2014 in Business
Napa - A Northern California city that took the brunt of Sunday morning's major earthquake has begun the arduous task of rebuilding damaged buildings, businesses and infrastructure.
Napa sidewalks were crunchy with broken glass and smashed masonry that toppled from downtown buildings after the quake shook the area awake at 3:40 a.m., but more accurate assessments of damage had to wait a few hours until sunup.
Then, damage to historic structures, businesses and homes became a lot clearer, according to the Napa Valley Register newspaper.
Windows fell from at least half of the businesses on First and Second streets, and fallen shelves meant damage to inventory — including wine bottles from Napa Valley wineries — expected in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
More than 60 downtown buildings were declared unsafe in the hours after the quake with a massive power outage hampering rescue operations and damage assessments.
More than 100 people were injured, only a few seriously, with no fatalities reported as of Monday, the newspaper said.
Among the severely damaged buildings was the three-story Alexandria Square complex, where falling bricks exposed a third-story office and smashed black awnings on the first floor.
Serious damage also was reported in Vallejo, another historic city about 25 miles to the south, but little damage was spotted in nearby American Canyon and Benicia.
But many roads leading in and out of Napa and Vallejo were damaged and had to be closed.
Napa, Vallejo and Benicia were founded in the years before California became a state in 1850, and many noteworthy buildings date from around that time.
Several of the structures most severely damaged Sunday were among the oldest in Napa, including the 1875 Pfeiffer Building at Main and Clinton streets, the 1874 First Presbyterian Church at Third and Randolph streets, the 1901 Goodman Library on First Street and the 1910 Alexandria Square building at Second and Brown streets.
McCaulou’s Department Store at First and Franklin Streets, though not historic, suffered severe damage when its ceiling sprinkler pipes burst and flooded the first and second floors at Napa Town Center.
Sunday morning's earthquake, which measured 6.0 on the Richter scale, was the strongest quake to hit the San Francisco Bay Area since the 1989 Loma Prieta temblor that killed more than 60 people and caused billions of dollars in damage.
“USGS scientists are working around the clock to understand the earthquake and relay information to emergency managers and the public,” said Tom Brocher, director of the U.S. government's Earthquake Science Center in Menlo Park, Calif.
Sunday's quake, which the U.S. Geological Survey named as "South Napa earthquake," occurred on a previously unmapped section of the West Napa fault, officials said.
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