Big Earthquake in Wittier Narrows

By will Allen

The Whittier Earthquake

by Will Allen


“I thought the house was moving down the block.” The family member I interviewed is my mom, Jennifer Allen. The earthquake she experienced was a 5.9 magnitude earthquake. They called it the Whittier earthquake because it was in Rosemead but in an area called the Whittier Narrows. It was 7:42 AM October 1, 1987 when the quake had hit. My mom’s story went like this:


It was around breakfast time and my mom was in my grandma’s room deciding if she should go to school because she was feeling really bad. As they were talking, the earthquake hit. My mom was holding on to the corner of the of my grandma’s bed and thought the whole house must be moving down the block. She was very scared and she started to panic. While my mom was screaming my grandma was so calm. It was like if she was still sleeping, she was so calm. It was crazy.


My Grandma was having breakfast in bed and she was having cantaloupe. My mom remembers that there was a statue of a parrot above her mom’s bed and the parrot was bouncing up and down until it fell. It fell into the bowl of cantaloup and it exploded everywhere. My mom was still scared and she was covered in cantaloup.


My aunt and my godmother went to the same high school. My aunt was going to drive my godmother to San Marino High, but the earthquake hit just before they left. Both my mom’s sister and friend were super scared and they were screaming like someone had just died as they ran back into the house. My grandma got out of bed and said to them, ”Shut up and calm down. It isn’t that bad.” So, they calmed down and the earthquake shortly ended. They felt several aftershocks for the next couple of days and those were less scary.


The earthquake did a lot of damage to houses, buildings and cars near the epicenter, but didn’t do too much damage in San Marino. The parrot statue and the cantaloup got hurt the most in my mom’s house.


My mom didn’t learn the same way about earthquakes that we do at school. We have to put our hands over our head. She remembers that she was taught to put her arms on her neck and cover her face and head. At home, she would get into a doorway if an earthquake hit but she said she chose a door is further away from the windows. The glass might break.

I don’t remember any earthquakes. My parents say that I have been around for a couple of smaller earthquakes that didn’t do much damage, but that they were powerful enough to shake things at our house.

Some more pictures of the earthquake

We will come to gather a gain