San Francisco Times

An Earthquake hits San Francisco.

Bay Bridge Earthquake

Earthquake Article

12/27/15 By: Melody Huang

5:00 p.m. October 17,1989, Tuesday; Bay Bridge Earthquake


Tuesday afternoon, a huge earthquake shook San Francisco. I interviewed my mom, Shirley Lee. She experienced the Bay Bridge Earthquake in San Francisco on October 17,1989. It was 5:00 in the afternoon on a Tuesday and the magnitude of the quake was 6.9.

Back then, my Mom was still a junior at the high school in Lafayette, California. That day, she already went back to her apartment which was on the 2nd floor. She was watching TV when the earthquake started. At the beginning, she thought it was just like any small quakes that would just last for few seconds. But then she saw the chandelier on the ceiling was swinging like a pendant of a clock. She was scared and prayed for the earthquake to stop soon while she was taking cover underneath a desk. When the quake ended, there was no damage made to her apartment because Lafayette was about 30 minutes driving distance northeast of Bay Bridge. However, when she watched the news, there was a major damage to the Bay Bridge.

The San Francisco Bay Bridge earthquake was different from other earthquakes. It lasted for a long time and it was shaking wildly. Instead of shaking sideways, it was shaking vertically as well. The earthquake was disruptive enough to break the top part of the bridge to fall to the second layer. The cars were crashed and smashed while crossing the Bay Bridge. According to the news, there were 67 lives lost during the breaking of the bridge and the damage cost more than 5 billion dollars. Last May, 2014, when we crossed the Bay Bridge, we can still see the broken part of the bridge that was done from the 1989 earthquake.

This was scary to imagine but we must prepare for predicted earthquakes that are going to happen. Here are some tips that Shirley recommended. We all need a survival backpack in our homes. It can be one backpack per person or a backpack to share. Some of the things that need to be in the survival backpacks are water, survival food that lasts for 3 days, first aid kit, a pair of clothes, and a few boxes of matches. If you ever hit traffic on a bridge, a road, or a freeway, and there are bridges acrossing on top of you; you shall try to avoid stopping underneath them in case if there was an earthquake, the road on top will not fall on top of your car and crash you.

By: Melody Huang