Many remember the early morning hours of January 17, 1994. Lives were changed, and it was a moment Los Angeles County residents will never forget.
At 4:31 a.m, a 6.7 magnitude earthquake hit. It was centered in Reseda but felt as far away as Las Vegas. It was the largest ground acceleration event ever recorded in North America.
The quake only lasted 10 to 20 seconds, but the shaking was severe enough to collapse the 5 and 14 freeway in the Newhall Pass.
57 people lost their lives and over 5,000 were injured.
Santa Clarita was the third worst city hit in terms of damage. According to the city, losses totaled $430 million, and two people were killed.
After the quake, Santa Clarita’s power, water and gas were cut off. Many residents had to band together.
City Hall was deemed unsafe, so emergency operations had to be run out of a “tent city hall” in the building’s east parking lot until the building could be repaired.
The 5 and 14 freeways suffered some of the most serious damage.
Interstate 5’s bridges over the Old Road partially collapsed, stranding several motorists on the precarious remains.
Several vehicles fell as the southbound transition of the State Route 14 bridge collapsed onto the 5 freeway below.
One of those vehicles was the motorcycle LAPD officer Clarence W. Dean was riding. The rebuilt overpass is now named in his honor.
Today construction codes and permits have been upgraded to make structures safer in the event of another major quake.
People in the Santa Clarita Valley have also come together to make sure if another disaster strikes we will be better prepared.
The all-volunteer Santa Clarita Disaster Coalition was formed after the quake to provide additional assistance during crisis situations.
The city has an alternate emergency operations center at its new transit maintenance facility with phones, data ports and wifi.
Santa Clarita also has a new wifi system in Central Park which will support any emergency operations that may be staged there.
The San Andreas Fault runs through the northern part of the Santa Clarita Valley. Another earthquake is inevitable. Take a few moments to create a disaster plan for your family.
Always duck and cover and expect aftershocks, avoid downed power lines and do not drink tap water.
SCV NewsBreak is a co-presentation of KHTS AM-1220 and SCVTV. It can be viewed on both organizations’ websites – HomeTownStation.com, SCVTV.com and SCVNews.com.
Television viewers can catch it on SCVTV at the top of every hour from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m., repeating the following morning at 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. SCVTV runs on Time Warner Cable Channel 20 and AT&T U-Verse Channel 99, and streaming on SCVTV.com.