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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

40 Years Ago: The San Fernando Earthquake

Above, the damaged interchange of the I-5 and CA-14 freeways.

Forty years ago tomorrow morning, the 1971 San Fernando Earthquake struck Los Angeles County.

The earthquake (also known as the Sylmar Earthquake) hit the San Fernando Valley near Sylmar at 6:00:55 a.m. PST on February 9, 1971, with a magnitude of 6.6. It caused extensive damage throughout Los Angeles County. It damaged the main building of my old elementary school, Woodcrest Elementary in South-Central Los Angeles to the extent that it had to be demolished.

I was in my junior year in high school and living in Hawthorne at the time and I clearly remember the quake. Until the January 1994 Northridge Earthquake, the San Fernando Earthquake was the strongest I ever experienced.

The quake demolished the Olive View Medical Center in Sylmar and badly damaged the Interstate 5 and California 14 freeways. That same freeway interchange was demolished again in 1994 during the Northridge Earthquake. 65 people were killed during the San Fernando Earthquake.

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