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Quake damage tops $55 million in CA

BY P.J. HELLER | Napa, CA | October 11, 2000

"Between business and residential

damage, the city of Napa alone is facing an estimated $50 million in overall earthquake-related losses

and damages," said California Gov. Gray Davis. "I believe that the most significant damage has yet to be

identified, since many homeowners are afraid to report damage, as they fear displacement from their


Davis has asked President Clinton to declare Napa County a federal disaster area, which would clear the

way for federal aid in the form of low-cost loans, grants, and temporary housing assistance for people

and businesses affected by the Sept. 3 temblor.

"It is clear that this incident is of such severity and magnitude that effective response is beyond the

capabilities of the state and affected local governments and that federal supplementary assistance is

necessary," Davis said.

Damage estimates for Napa were initially put at between $5 million and $15 million. Those figures

began to rise steadily last week as the state began preliminary damage assessments aided by the

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

Napa officials said they believe between 3,000 and 5,000 residences may have been damaged by the

quake, which struck about 1:36 a.m. City officials said they were receiving 500 requests a day for

damage inspections. Napa officials today were expected to launch a comprehensive canvass of all

structures that had been reported damaged, Davis said.

The majority of the losses have involved cracked walls, damaged or destroyed chimneys, shifting

foundations, and possessions which fell and broke. There were also broken water and gas mains, some

fires and power outages in the town, Davis reported.

Officials have "red-tagged" at least three houses and one commercial building, meaning they cannot be

occupied. "City officials estimate that approximately 50 to 60 percent of businesses located in downtown

Napa were damaged with most sustaining glass breakage and significant inventory losses," Davis said in

his letter to Clinton."

The Napa County courthouse located in the city of Napa received serious damage to its second and

third floors. Davis noted that few residents carried earthquake insurance and that even those who did

will likely not have the losses to their homes and businesses covered because of high deductibles. "Given

the low level of insurance coverage for the area and the high rate of earthquake insurance deductibles, it

is highly unlikely that insurance proceeds will provide significant coverage for these types of losses,"


More than 70 people were hurt in the earthquake, most of them suffering minor injuries. Five people

were hospitalized, three of whom have since been released. The most seriously injured was 5-year-old

Nathan Schrank of Napa, who remained in critical condition at Children's Hospital Oakland after

undergoing surgery again on Friday. He was struck by falling bricks and debris in his home.

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