31 years later: Remembering Loma Prieta earthquake

Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – Saturday is a day many in the Bay Area will not forget.

31 years ago today on Oct. 17, 19-89, the powerful deadly Loma Prieta earthquake hit at just after 5 in the evening. More than 60 people died and thousands injured.

Buildings and structures were heavily damaged. Part of the Bay Bridge collapsed and houses were burned. The epicenter of the quake was in the Santa Cruz Mountains, and it caused about $6 billion worth of damage.

Many remember exactly where they were when tragedy struck. Some were about to watch a World Series game between San Francisco Giants and the Oakland A’s.

The shake at U.C. Santa Cruz and across the Bay Area lasted 15 seconds, followed by a path of destruction.

Mike Jolson of Santa Cruz remembers he was on a bus to Cabrillo College when the earthquake hit.

“Just seeing these glass big windows break and we pulled over and eventually the bus drove us to Cabrillo College where we heard you know that it was a big earthquake and downtown was leveled,” Jolson said.

Physical reminders remain – a plaque bearing the names of those who died and a memorial lamp post with two pictures of the earthquake victims.

“We did bounce back and that was good,” Jolson said. “Never was the same you know just the landscape of the town since but a resilient community.”

Scientists say we’re due for another “Big One“.

Seismologists are urging people to be prepared, download the “MyShake” app, the earthquake early warning app that is designed to provide potentially seconds of warning ahead of an earthquake – that’s seconds you can take cover under a table until the shaking ends.

SAN FRANCISCO – OCTOBER 17: General view of the crowds in Candlestick Park after an earthquake, measuring 7.1 on the richter scale, rocks game three of the World Series between the Oakland A’s and San Francisco Giants at Candlestick Park on October 17, 1989 in San Francisco, California. Despite some discussion to cancel, baseball Commissioner Fay Vincent agrees to allow the series to continue. Play resumed October 25, and the A’s go on to sweep the Giants in four games. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr /Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO – OCTOBER 17: General view of the Marina district disaster zone after an earthquake, measuring 7.1 on the richter scale, rocks game three of the World Series between the Oakland A’s and San Francisco Giants at Candlestick Park on October 17, 1989 in San Francisco, California. Despite some discussion to cancel, baseball Commissioner Fay Vincent agrees to allow the series to continue. Play resumed October 25, and the A’s go on to sweep the Giants in four games. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr /Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO – OCTOBER 17: Emergency workers prop up a collapsed building in the Marina district disaster zone after the earthquake, measuring 7.1 on the richter scale, rocks game three of the World Series between the Oakland A’s and San Francisco Giants at Candlestick Park on October 17, 1989 in San Francisco, California. Despite some discussion to cancel, baseball Commissioner Fay Vincent agrees to allow the series to continue. Play resumed October 25, and the A’s go on to sweep the Giants in four games. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr /Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – OCTOBER 15: In this before-and-after composite image, (Top) A view of the doorway to a damaged apartment building on Beach Street near Divisadero Street following the Loma Prieta earthquake on October 17, 1989 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by C.E. Meyer/U.S. Geological Survey Photographic Library via Getty Images) SAN FRANCISCO, CA – OCTOBER 15: (Bottom) A view of a garage at an apartment building on Beach Street that was built after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake on October 15, 2014 in San Francisco, California. It has been 25 years since the 7.0 Loma Prieta earthquake rocked the San Francisco Bay Area at 5:04PM on October 17, 1989 causing widespread damage to buildings and roadways. 63 people died and nearly 4,000 were injured. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA – OCTOBER 15: In this before-and-after composite image, (Top) The collapsed upper deck of the Cypress viaduct of Interstate 880 after the Loma Prieta earthquake on October 17, 1989 in Oakland, California. (Photo by H.G. Wilshire/U.S. Geological Survey Photographic Library via Getty Images) OAKLAND, CA – OCTOBER 15: (Bottom) A car drives along Mandela Parkway where the Cypress viaduct of Interstate 880 used to stand on October 15, 2014 in Oakland, California. It has been 25 years since the 7.0 Loma Prieta earthquake rocked the San Francisco Bay Area at 5:04PM on October 17, 1989 causing widespread damage to buildings and roadways. 63 people died and nearly 4,000 were injured. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Since the quake, authorities have scrambled to make sure area buildings and bridges would be safer when another major earthquake hit. Earthquakes happen without a warning. The Federal Emergency Mgmt Agency urges Californians to make an emergency plan.

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