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Residents of Southern California Brace for Earthquake Aftershocks With PM-California

June 29, 1991

Residents of Southern California Brace for Earthquake Aftershocks With PM-California Quake-Scene; PM-California Quake-List

PASADENA, Calif. (AP) _ Southern Californians picked through the rubble of shattered buildings while bracing for aftershocks from a powerful earthquake that killed two people and injured more than 100.

Windows shattered, walls cracked and foundations buckled in hundreds of buildings as the shock wave belted the region Friday at 7:43 a.m.

One woman was killed when a steel beam fell at Santa Anita Race Track and another died of a heart attack brought on by the quake, authorities said. Four people were seriously hurt and 100 suffered minor injuries. More than 300 buildings were damaged.

The temblor measured 6.0 on the Richter scale, according to seismologists at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. It was centered 7 miles northeast of the small city of Sierra Madre and seven miles under the San Gabriel Mountains.

The odds are 1-in-3 that by next Friday there will be an aftershock measuring 5 or more on the Richter scale, said Lucy Jones, a seismologist with the U.S. Geological Survey.

It was the strongest earthquake to hit the region since the Whittier Narrows quakes of 1987, which measured 5.9 and 5.3, respectively, and killed eight people.

A spire atop the huge central dome of Pasadena City Hall, 200 feet above the street, was knocked off center but didn’t fall.

″That is nature’s barometer,″ said Pasadena Fire Chief Kaya Pekerol. ″We always know we’ve had a significant earthquake when it tilts a little bit.″

Within hours the cleanup began. Maud Danielsen, wearing sandals and a pink nightgown, carefully swept shards of glass that had fallen from a window outside her apartment building in Sierra Madre.

The quake shattered her 200-year-old crystal, carried by hand from her native Norway. She said it didn’t matter.

″We have our lives, that’s the most important thing,″ Danielsen said as she tried to avoid weeping by sweeping harder.

An overall damage estimate was not immediately available. But John Millen of Farmers Insurance Co., the state’s largest seller of homeowner policies, estimated Farmers will face claims of $5 million.

The temblor rippled out from a long-dormant fault 7 miles under the San Gabriel Mountains, which tower to more than 10,000 feet and form the northern rim of the Los Angeles Basin. The quake probably lifted the mountains 2 or 3 inches higher, said Egill Hauksson, a seismologist at the California Institute of Technology.

Earth movement was felt 80 miles northwest in Santa Barbara, 100 miles north in Bakersfield, more than 100 miles south at the Mexican border and 225 miles east in Las Vegas.

But most damage occurred in Pasadena and several neighboring towns 10 to 30 miles east of Los Angeles along the San Gabriel foothills.

Julie Nickoley, 34, of San Dimas was killed by a falling piece of steel 20 feet long as she watched workouts from the grandstand at Santa Anita in Arcadia, police said. A horse trainer, Arthur Lerille, 56, of San Dimas was injured.

Barbara Sutherland, 68, of Glendale died of a heart attack caused by the quake, said Melinda Sinn, spokeswoman for the Glendale Adventist Medical Center.

Thirty-six hospitals treated 104 people, only four with major injuries, the Hospital Council of Southern California said. A Sierra Madre official said another 16 people were treated for injuries in that city, but none were hospitalized.

More than 300 buildings were damaged in Pasadena, Monrovia, Sierra Madre, Arcadia and other communities, authorities said.

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