18 April 2017

History for the day: 1906: Earthquake in San Francisco

From History.com:

At 0513, an earthquake estimated at close to 8.0 on the Richter scale struck San Francisco, California, killing hundreds of people as it toppled numerous buildings. The quake was caused by a slip of the San Andreas Fault over a segment about 275 miles long, and shock waves could be felt from southern Oregon to Los Angeles, California.
San Francisco’s brick buildings and wooden Victorian structures were especially devastated. Fires immediately broke out and–because broken water mains prevented firefighters from stopping them–firestorms soon developed citywide. At 0700, Army troops from Fort Mason reported to the Hall of Justice, and San Francisco Mayor E.E. Schmitz called for the enforcement of a dusk-to-dawn curfew and authorized soldiers to shoot-to-kill anyone found looting. Meanwhile, in the face of significant aftershocks, firefighters and troops fought desperately to control the ongoing fire, often dynamiting whole city blocks to create firewalls. On 20 April 20, twenty thousand refugees trapped by the massive fire were evacuated from the foot of Van Ness Avenue aboard the USS Chicago.
By 23 April, most fires were extinguished, and authorities commenced the task of rebuilding the devastated metropolis. It was estimated that some three thousand people died as a result of the Great San Francisco Earthquake and the devastating fires it inflicted upon the city. Almost thirty thousand buildings were destroyed, including most of the city’s homes and nearly all the central business district.
Rico says that, sitting on the San Andreas fault, they still get (smaller) shocks, but, some day, another big one...

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