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Memories of Northridge

Museum Info

Hollywood Museum

1355 N. Caheunga Blvd.
Hollywood, CA 90028
(323) 464 - 2727
SAT 10a - 4p

Harbor Museum

638 Beacon Street
San Pedro, CA 90731
(323) 464 - 2727
SAT 10a - 3p

Off-hour tours available
by special request.

Memories of Northridge

Remembering a Marine
The Northridge Earthquake - The LAFD Historical Society Remembers.

Northridge Earthquake Damage

This week, Los Angeles is buzzing with memories of the 1994 Northridge earthquake. At 4:31 on the 17th of January in 1994, a significant earthquake ripped through the San Fernando Valley, northwest of downtown Los Angeles. Although centered in Reseda, the Northridge quake as it is known, killed 57 people, sent 1,600 to area hospitals, and injured more than 8,700.

From a scientific perspective, this was an interesting quake, and quite different from the one most eyes are trained on: the San Andreas. When the San Andreas next rips, it will shift the ground side to side - a slip fault. The Northridge fault pushed up - a blind thrust fault called the Pico fault.

The Northridge quake wasn't a particularly large quake on the magnitude scale - a 6.7 magnitude, but it was one of the most destructive local quakes ever recorded in North America. A freeway overpass on the Santa Monica Freeway collapsed more than 20 miles from the epicenter.

We're learning more about new and potentially deadly faults all the time. Hollywood has been at the center of a battle over the construction of new buildings close to fault lines. And, with good reason. The USGS is worried that a major quake in Hollywood would kill or injure more than 11,000 people, cause more than $20 billion in damage, and literally destroy the Hollywood area. Fire following a quake like that could bolt not only through Hollywood itself, but the neighboring Hollywood HIlls. It was fire that destroyed most of San Francisco after the Big 1906 quake, and more than 110 fires destroyed blocks of buildings following the Northridge quake.

The Los Angeles Fire Department Historical Society is headquartered in Hollywood, and Old Fire Station 27 - now the home of the LAFD Museum - has some significant earthquake history. In fact, it's only because of the building being damaged in an earthquake that the City of Los Angeles eventually agreed to lease it to the LAFD Historical Society. 

Our friends at MySafe:LA have gathered a number of interviews with LAFDHS members, including Director of Operations Frank W. Borden - and are making those interviews available via podcast. You can learn more by visiting the MySafe:LA podcast.

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