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Hearts of L.A. / How the Quake Rocked Our Spirits and Changed Our Lives : COPING WITH CHAOS : 'The house was only about three feet tall.'

January 30, 1994|Dr. Bert Lockwood | Lockwood, 51, a dentist, lives on Beverly Ridge Drive in Sherman Oaks. His house is next door to the one in which 4-year-old Amy Vigil-Tyre died when her family's home fell down the ridge. Last week, Lockwood's house, a green sticker prominently affixed to its front, was the only one on the street occupied.

It's a rude way to wake up, and the way things were rocking and rolling, I was sure it was a big one.

Then I looked out of the window and heard a rumble, and I wasn't sure if it was from the earthquake--I didn't know. Later, I put some clothes on and walked out into the street.

The house next to me, which had been on the street, was 100 feet down the hill. The only reason it didn't go farther was because there were some big pine trees, and that stopped it from going the rest of the way down the hill. The next house went farther down because the other trees were farther down the hill.

There were people kneeling around and I was very impressed with the response from the fire department in that they had already brought a hook-and-ladder truck out here. They had a spotlight, and the firemen were rappelling down the hill on ropes with chain saws, trying to get whoever was in there out.

They were down there with chain saws and jackhammers trying to get the roof open and get people out. The house was only about three feet tall. They were cutting a square in the roof to get down to where the people were screaming.

They got the man out; he only got a broken jaw.

They also got the woman out. They carried her out.

But they left the little girl who was dead there for probably three hours, because they were waiting for the coroner.

He never came.

They just wrapped her up in a blanket, put her in the trunk of the car and took her away.

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