The 1971 Sylmar Earthquake

Matthew Gamble

The Sylmar Earthquake!

By Matthew Gamble

interview with Virginia Jones


San Fernando

“The bed was shaking like crazy,” this is how my eyewitness explained the quake when it hit. My eyewitness was my grandmother, Virginia Jones. She had experienced the 1971 Sylmar earthquake in San Fernando. Sixty people were missing and twenty-four people were dead after the 6.6 earthquake ended.

My grandmother was in bed at the time of the quake. The early morning earthquake woke her up. She explained to me the she could not move. She put her hands up to protect herself from falling objects like the book shelf next to her bed. There was a loud clap and a sudden jolt.

“Glasses had tipped from where they were and shattered onto the floor,” she told me. Bricks had fallen out of the chimney too. My grandmother ran out of the house leaving her baby (my mom) inside. She told me that she still feels guilty. She was relieved that there was not a lot of damage to the house.

this is a photo of damage done to a nearby freeway.

Here are a few good tips to how to survive an earthquake. If you are in bed roll out of bed and stay as close as you can to it. You can also stand in your doorway. Keep your shoes by your bed so you can walk over shattered glass. After the earthquake turn the gas off to your house and stay away from any downed power lines.
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Above you will see cars that were crushed by a garage roof.