1987 Whittier Narrows Earthquake

by Michelle Cheng

1987 Whittier Narrows Earthquake Story


“I was so scared that I ran outside the building,” said Lydia Aguilera, my mom, who was one of the eyewitnesses of the 1987 Whittier Narrows Earthquake. The Whittier Narrows Earthquake occurred on October 1, at 7:42 a.m. PDT. The Whittier Narrows Earthquake reached a magnitude of 5.9. It was centered in the town of Rosemead, California which is several miles north of Whittier, California. The earthquake was felt throughout Southern California and Southern Nevada. 8 people were killed during the earthquake. The strong shaking lasted from 4-5 seconds. The total cost for the damage of this earthquake was 358 million dollars.



Lydia arrived at work, presuming that it would be a normal day. She went inside her office room setting all of her belongings down on the table in front of her. “I thought that I was in a dream when the shaking started to happen. It felt like someone was raising me up and shaking me up and down continuously. Suddenly, I saw a bookshelf fall down. I realized that this was really happening and that I was not in a dream. I started to panic when the power went out. I ran outside in fear that the bookshelves and other things up on the drawers would crash on me. When the shaking stopped, I was worried about my family. I called them wondering if they were okay. I felt such great relief when I realized that they were unscathed and not one of them injured.”


Here are some tips that she recommends if an earthquake were to occur in your area: Hide underneath a sturdy table and hold onto the legs of it. That way, stuff from the ceiling don’t fall on you. You should always stay where you are until the shaking stops, and do not run outside. Do not get under a doorway as this does not provide protection from falling or dropping objects, and you may not be able to remain standing. When the shaking starts, go down and onto your hands and knees so the earthquake doesn’t knock you down while you’re standing. Avoid and stay away from glass, windows, doors and walls, and anything that could fall down, such as lights or furniture. Today, Lydia is currently residing in San Marino, California where she has a husband, and two daughters, and encourages everyone to be prepared and ready at all times for upcoming earthquakes in his or her area.