Interviewing: Manuel Figueroa
By: Sofia Figueroa
Interviewing: Manuel Figueroa
I interviewed Manuel Figueroa, my father, who experienced the Northridge earthquake on January 17, 1994 which had a 6.7 magnitude. It was at 4:30 a.m, but my father was still up reading. Once the shaking began, he immediately stood up. My dad was at his parents’ house in San Marino reading in the kitchen, when the earthquake started. He stood up immediately hearing his sister start to scream, because she hit her foot on a low table in the den, where she was sleeping. When the earthquake started, some guests from out of the country were visiting my grandparents also. They were very scared and did not know what was going on, until they finally realized that it was an earthquake.
His brother slept through the whole earthquake, not knowing it had happened. However, the guests were very scared, because they had never experienced anything like it. The guests were sleeping in all the bedrooms, so my dad's sister had to sleep in the den in a sleeping bag. That's when the earthquake started and she stood up immediately and hit her foot on the table while trying to run out of the den. They were 25.20 miles away from the center of the quake in Reseda.
At 4:30 a.m while my dad was reading, he first began to hear a loud sound coming from the roof that sounded like a train was running over the house. Then everything started to shake very hard. At that moment, my dad knew it was an earthquake. The first thing my dad did was to get under a doorway and hold on. When the shaking stopped, he went to check on his sister to make sure she was ok. The he went to check on his parents, his grandmother, and the guests. After that, he went to go wake up his brother, who had slept through the whole thing. Then he called his other sister to check on her and some visitors she had from Germany, France, and England to see if they were ok. They were fine, but the visitors were very terrified. San Marino was not really affected too much by the earthquake. Most of the damage was in the northwest part of L.A. County. No one in his parents’ house was seriously injured. There was a lot of property damage near the epicenter. There were also close to 60 fatalities and more than 8,700 injured.
The scariest part for him was thinking that it was the “big one” that is supposed to be coming. Nothing caught on fire in the house, and my dad is not aware of any fires caused by the earthquake. He did not evacuate the house, because they feared the electric cables that are out there. They all took cover under the doorframes, because most tables in the house are made of glass. There were not too many emergency supplies in the house other than a flashlight, but none were needed. Nobody in the house was really prepared for an earthquake other than knowing to take cover. They were lucky that there wasn’t any damage or any injuries around their neighborhood. However, next time they might not get so lucky. That’s why it is important to be prepared.
Some tips for preparing for an earthquake are: Having a flashlight around incase the power goes out. Keeping emergency food and water is also useful if the earthquake is on for a while. Another thing to have is an emergency blanket to keep warm during the earthquake. These items should be kept in convenient locations. It is also important to secure your space by identifying hazards and securing moveable items. It is also a good idea to create a disaster plan and deciding how you will communicate during an emergency. One other tip is to consider buying earthquake insurance.