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No Major Damage, but Quake Definitely Left Its Mark : Aftermath: About 120 Pasadena residents are forced from their apartment complex. One heart attack death is attributed to the temblor.

January 20, 1994|MIKE CARLSON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The San Gabriel Valley rode out Monday's 6.6-magnitude earthquake with one death attributed to the temblor and no major damage to buildings, water mains or power lines.

The valley was spared severe damage because the earthquake's ground motion moved primarily north-south rather than east-west, said Caltech spokeswoman Heather Lovasz. The earthquake faults believed to be involved generally run north-south.

An 84-year-old Monterey Park man suffered a heart attack and died shortly after the quake struck at 4:31 a.m., Police Lt. Maynard Merkt said. The man's name was not released.

Meanwhile, falling bricks forced about 120 residents from their Pasadena apartment complex into Red Cross shelters.

Pasadena building inspectors condemned the apartments at Villa Street and Marengo Avenue early Monday after bricks from the top stories tumbled into the parking area bordering the three buildings, City Councilman Bill Crowfoot said. The councilman spent Monday morning translating directions to the Red Cross shelter in Victory Park to the mostly Spanish-speaking residents of the apartments. They were not expected to be allowed back in the building until late this week at the earliest.

The effects of the quake were visible as residents carted off their belongings in garbage bags and babies cried in their mothers' arms. Resident Carmen Dill, 24, a nurse, said she and her husband were going to stay with her parents in Altadena.

"These people are being uprooted, it's very traumatic. Many don't speak English, and they're definitely going to need some counseling to get through this," said Health Department program coordinator Joe Huerta as he helped Crowfoot translate.

Forty-one residents without relatives in the area spent the night at a second shelter set up at the Jackie Robinson Center after a free El Pollo Loco dinner at Victory Park, said Deane Winant of the Red Cross. An additional 20 people arrived at the shelter from Altadena and the Northridge area.

Hundreds of additional buildings in the valley's 29 other cities will also require repair. Almost all police departments reported numerous calls for help in dealing with shattered windows and fallen brick facades caused by the quake and its aftershocks.

Roughly 40 buildings were damaged in Pasadena, 18 of them in the Old Town area. Some businesses also suffered merchandise loss. For instance, about $3,000 worth of damage was reported at the Crate and Barrel store in Old Pasadena after the shaking toppled glass merchandise from shelves, and owners of the Dodsworth bar estimated broken liquor bottles would cost them thousands of dollars.

The San Gabriel Mission, newly reopened after undergoing $1.2 million in repairs from the 1987 Whittier Narrows earthquake, survived the latest temblor intact, but tremors shifted its tower about an inch and damaged its museum, officials said.

Pasadena's Colorado Bridge, also recently reopened after seismic retrofitting, weathered the shaking with no problems.

Broken water mains were reported in South Pasadena and Monterey Park, among other cities, but officials said the water supply for the Valley remains pure and all tap water is safe and drinkable. An estimated $10,000 worth of water damage was reported at The Plaza in West Covina when some 50 gallons of water sprayed out of a broken sprinkler head and damaged four stores, mall officials said.

A number of brief power failures caused lights to go out all over the valley in the wake of the quake, but electricity was quickly restored, according to Southern California Edison. El Monte suffered an hourlong blackout, and power was cut off to parts of Temple City, Azusa and Arcadia as well. Downed power lines at a Vons grocery store at 10150 Lower Azusa Road in El Monte burned two unoccupied cars.

The brief outages also caused many traffic signals to start blinking red valleywide, and a security guard was trapped in an elevator for about 90 minutes at Alhambra Hospital, said hospital security supervisor Scott Johnson.

"(Officer Rudy Patron) got stuck between the third and fourth floors right after it hit," said Johnson, who cracked jokes to Patron over a walkie-talkie while engineers and firefighters slowly lowered the car into the basement and pried open the doors.

Patron, 44, is a Vietnam veteran who said he's been through much worse than being trapped in an elevator. "But right now, I'm taking the stairs," he added with a laugh. "I've had enough of elevators for a couple of days."

Other hospitals across the valley reported mostly minor injuries due to the shaking. "We've only gotten cuts and scrapes, which is great," said Steve Willis of Huntington Memorial Hospital. Dozens of nurses, doctors, police and firefighters from San Gabriel also traveled to San Fernando to aid quake victims, and Huntington has taken in babies needing intensive care from hospitals in the Northridge area.

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