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My story of how I returned home after the Oct 17, 1989 earthquake

Posted By: NaturalWisdom
Date: Friday, 18-Oct-2019 14:11:52
www.rumormill.news/133653

In Response To: I WAS STUCK IN THE BASEMENT OF A HIGHRISE BUILDING. (oliverhaddo)

At the time of the Loma Prieta earthquake, I worked in a high rise building in the Financial District of San Francisco and regularly rode the BART train from my home in the East Bay to work. I had just shut down my desktop computer when the quake struck shortly after 5pm and I was about ready to head for the elevators to meet a couple of my co-workers who normally boarded the same BART train that I did. My supervisor hurriedly came over to our cubicles to advise staff members such as myself to duck and cover in case of a severe aftershock. I knew that the building where I worked was relatively new and had been built according to earthquake standards, so I silently but graciously ignored his warning.

I met my fellow BART riders in the lobby and we began to walk to the nearest station on Market Street. Hordes of commuters and office workers were roaming the streets. We subsequently learned that BART service to the East Bay had been suspended due to the powerful tremor. We wondered how we would each return home. Eventually, we walked down to Mission Street where the bus terminal was located. Along the way, I noticed large cracks in many office buildings and debris on the sidewalk. After considering our options for probably 30 minutes or so, we decided to board the SAMTrans (San Mateo County) bus as far it would take us. When we boarded, all of the seats were taken, so I had to stand and brace myself in the aisle.

The day of the earthquake coincided with the Bay Area World Series game at Candlestick Park between the San Francisco Giants and Oakland A's which, naturally, was canceled. The bus driver drove very slowly (maybe 10-15 mph) along the city streets, and picked up dozens of baseball fans at the Candlestick Park bus stop. At 10:30pm or thereabouts, the bus eventually arrived in Redwood City and the driver announced that this was the final stop. At the Redwood City terminal, my co-workers said they would try to make another connection that would take them closer to their homes in the East Bay. I chose a different option.

While Redwood City was not near the quake's epicenter, the street lights at the bus terminal were shut down. In the dark of night, I found a pay phone and fumbled in the dim light to call a friend I knew who lived in Redwood City. I was able to complete the call, and my friend picked me up to take her to her home where I spent the night. Her electricity was shut down by the quake and the only illumination came from the candles that she had lit.

The next morning, we went our separate ways, but not before my friend loaned me her bicycle that I could use to ride across the Dumbarton Bridge. At that time, I lived in Fremont directly across from Redwood City. The tires on the bicycle I rode kept losing air, so I was forced to end my ride near the Dumbarton Bridge toll plaza. In an era before cell phones, I used a nearby pay phone and called a church friend who graciously transported me and the disabled bicycle in his station wagon to my home.

When I opened the door to my townhouse, I expected the worse. Instead, my home sustained no damage and the only evidence that indicated that a strong earthquake had taken place was that my downstairs bathroom door had swung open.





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