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'We're Sitting on a Time Bomb' : What effect has the earthquake had on your views of life in Los Angeles?

January 23, 1994|Kirby Lee / Times community correspondent

MARIO VILLEGAS SR.: East Los Angeles , 65-year-old retired tool serviceman: "In 1987, we had some major damage to our chimney and a few cracks in the walls. This time, a few pictures fell down, but nothing major happened to my home. Sitting here, watching all the news channels show all the devastation is kind of heartbreaking. I really feel for these people who worked so hard to build something and had their lives damaged and lost all they had."

TANIA ACOSTA: 22-year-old Cal State Los Angeles student "It scared me about the future in Los Angeles, but it has not changed my plans about living here. In other countries and everywhere you go, people are going to have certain kinds of problems, whether it's war or poverty. The earthquake made me more aware of my family, being a college student and living away from home. The more you are away from your family, the more you realize disaster can happen to you or someone you know."

STEPHANIE LEWIS: 23-year-old lab assistant from the Crenshaw area "Earthquake preparedness is more prominent now for me. We need to take the necessary precautions with water and canned food. We aren't really prepared for the Big One. Lives were lost in the (1989) Bay Area earthquake, but what I have seen on TV of what happened here is so close. I know people who have had damage or lost their homes. It tells me we need to be prepared for the inevitable and anything that might happen."

GABRIEL ORTIZ: 44-year-old truck driver from South-Central "I was glad nothing happened to my family except for losing power and phone lines for a day. We have always had bottles of water, so we were ready. I am very lucky to have my job, but the freeway closures and road damage will make things hard on me as a semi-truck driver. It doesn't matter how long it takes for me to make my deliveries because I will still get paid, but it's going to be real boring having to go so slow."

ELOISE HOWARD: 37-year-old unemployed clerical worker from the USC area "I feel like we're sitting on a time bomb. I feel so helpless. I feel so numb and a little terrified. Praying is giving me some reality to hold on to, and I'm relying on the strength of God. Right now, I still feel uncertain about tomorrow. We did not have power or water for an entire day, and we have not had heat in our apartment complex because a pipe burst and the damage has not been repaired. The danger of natural disasters is more defined in my mind, but I still have a spooky feeling something else is going to happen."

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