3 Hospitalized After Northern Calif. Quake

In the dead of night, Etta Crocker, 52, woke up with a bolt: Her television set was inexplicably flying across her room.

Crocker and hundreds of other residents in the heart of Northern California's wine country were jolted early Sunday when a 5.2-magnitude earthquake knocked out windows, broke gas and water mains, and shut down power to about 10,000 people.

Three people were hospitalized following the temblor, including a 5-year-old boy in critical condition with head injuries and a broken pelvis after chimney parts fell on him. Two others -- a 41-year-old man and 37-year-old woman -- were both in fair condition, said Debbie Fisher of Queen of the Valley Hospital.

Napa officials estimated the quake caused between $5 million and $15 million in damage. About 100-150 buildings sustained structural damage, including collapsed chimneys and broken hot water heaters, according to Napa police.

Seventy-one people, including 23 children, spent Sunday night in an emergency shelter in a Napa church, said Jason Smith of the American Red Cross.

“It's been very difficult,” said Crocker, who arrived at the shelter Sunday afternoon with her daughter and two teen-age grandchildren. “We're all just kind of in shock now. Everybody just keeps sitting on their cots and staring at each other.”

Most of those bedding down for the night on cots at the First Baptist Church were evacuated from the same two-story apartment building, Smith said. City inspectors asked residents to leave the building after they deemed it “unsafe,” said Matt Wilson of Napa's building and street inspection department.

The quake hit at 1:36 a.m. about 6 miles northwest of Napa and 6 miles northeast of Sonoma, near the small town of Yountville, according to the U.S. Geological Survey in Menlo Park.

California Highway Patrol spokesman Mark Bunger, who said he has lived in the Napa area his whole life, said the quake was “by far the most severe I've ever felt.”

“Usually it's a rolling, but this was more of a real jolting,” he said. “My wife and kids were screaming. It was quite upsetting.”

He said his two-story house in nearby Browns Valley sustained no major damage. “There's stuff all over the floor, a lot of cracked plaster. I was relieved it was nothing really costly.”


AP
An auto parts store in Napa.

Numerous homes had chimneys that fell down or leaned following the earthquake.

Alison Saether, who lies two blocks from downtown Napa said plaster fell from her ceiling and she lost power for two hours.

“It was like someone was just holding the house and shaking it violently,” she said. “We were so panicked we couldn't even move.”

Despite the jolt, the earthquake was considered small by the USGS, said spokeswoman Pat Jorgenson. The shaking woke people as far south as San Francisco, some 50 miles away.

“It's very rare that there's any structural damage or loss of life in a quake of this magnitude,” she said. “Loma Prieta was about 100 times greater.”

The Loma Prieta earthquake, centered 50 miles south of San Francisco in 1989, killed 69 people and caused $6 billion damage.
Sunday's quake happened six miles underground on an unknown fault, Jorgenson said. There already have been two small aftershocks, of magnitudes 1.5 and 1.8, and in the next week, the area could feel as many as 20 small aftershocks.


AP
Justin Clarke sweeps up broken glass in front of his family's baby store in downtown Napa.

"At first we didn't know if someone was in the house," she said. "

"It felt like a helicopter was crashing into my home," Napa resident Irene Gomez told CBS Radio News. "It was scary...terribly scary."


©2000 CBS Worldwide Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report

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