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article imageSix more Napa buildings declared uninhabitable

By Nathan Salant     Aug 30, 2014 in Environment
Napa - Napa city officials have red-tagged six more downtown buildings, raising the number of buildings rendered unusable by Sunday's early-morning earthquake to more than 120.
The quake, which measured 6.0 on the Richter scale, awakened at least a million people when it struck at 3:20 a.m., destroying the fronts of buildings, shattering masonry, toppling wine cases and tearing up roadways.
More than 500 buildings have been yellow-tagged in the city of Napa, limiting their use, with dozens more damaged in nearby communities.
The shaker, which apparently happened on an unmapped section of the West Napa fault, was the largest earthquake to strike the San Francisco Bay Area since the 1989 Loma Prieta quake that killed dozens and interrupted the World Series.
The city of Napa is the county seat of Napa County, center of California's largest wine-growing region.
Substantial damage also was reported in the city of Vallejo, some 25 miles to the south in Solano County, where dozens of public and private buildings were damaged, including the 140-year-old First Baptist Church at 2025 Sonoma Blvd., in the city's historic downtown.
The cost of earthquake damage to public buildings in Vallejo was tentatively estimated at $1 million, prompting the Solano County Board of Supervisors to declare a state of emergency and begin seeking federal disaster aid funds.
The Napa buildings red-tagged Thursday included 825 Main Street, a restaurant; 823 Main, Henry's bar; 815 Main, the former M Caffe; 807 Main, Velo Pizzeria; and 1030 & 1040 Third St., Windermere real estate; according to the Napa Valley Register newspaper.
“We have to tag these other buildings because of the immediate danger from the adjacent unreinforced building,” Napa's chief building official, Dan Kavarian, told the newspaper.
Kavarian was referring to law offices and other property owned by Napa attorney Brian Silver on the next street over, Brown Street, which back up to the Main Street buildings, the newspaper said.
The building housing Silver's law offices at 810 Brown St. was supposed to have been earthquake-proofed by 2009 but never were, the newspaper said.
Silver denied that his building posed any threat to neighboring structures and accused the city of overreacting.
“I think that the city is very concerned and sensitive right now -- they’re red-tagging everything in town,” Silver said.
"There is no danger to their properties," he said.
But city officials withdrew their red-tag determination for The Thomas restaurant at 813 Main St., saying the building was too tall to be harmed if any of the adjacent buildings failed, the newspaper said.
Building owner Steve Hasty said he commended the city for acting quickly to protect public safety, then reversing itself when engineering plans showed that his structure was not vulnerable.
“I think the city is very focused on keeping business open, not closing things," he said.
Kavarian said it was unclear when the newly closed Main Street buildings would be allowed to reopen, but said inspectors would enter Silver's Brown Street building to determine whether the building could be secured.
The Napa City Council is scheduled to meet with city attorneys Friday to plan legal strategy if necessary, the newspaper said.
Construction crews have already begun work to restore stores and offices at the Napa Square development at Second and Franklin streets, which suffered damage significant enough to cause nearby properties to be red-tagged as well.
More about Napa, Earthquake, redtagged, California, Solano
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