Rebecca Times

Whittier Narrows


Family Earthquake Story

The 1987 earthquake was terrifying to most people but not my dad, since he had been through earthquakes before. I am interviewing my dad, George Leiva. That earthquake he felt is called the Whittier Narrows earthquake. It happened on October 1, 1987 at 7:42 a.m. and the magnitude was 5.9.

My dad was at work in a tall building around the 20th floor in downtown L.A. He was on the phone having a conversation and then said, “Oh, we’re having an earthquake.” He felt shaking not rolling and he moved with the people that were at work to the doorway that had stronger construction and away from the windows. He wasn’t scared since have gone through earthquakes before.

The room that my dad was in had no windows broken which was lucky. Filing cabinets fell over because they were not secured into the walls like nowadays where it is safer. Any rooms that had filing cabinets fell over because they were not secured into the walls. The shaking was pretty big. The earthquake was centered 15 miles from where my dad’s office was. There were 16 aftershocks that were over a magnitude of 3. The aftershocks were about 10 to 15 seconds long. Also, the earthquake’s magnitude was first recorded at 6.1 but then recalculated at 5.9.

Some tips my dad has for you is to keep a first-aid kit, water bottle, and flashlight handy in case of an earthquake since you don’t know when one will come. Some other advice is that you keep a pair of tennis shoes at work so you can run faster to get to a safe spot instead of wearing fancy shoes.