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SANTA MONICA : They Weren't Hurt, but Quake Put Family in Hospital Anyway

January 30, 1994|CAROL CHASTANG | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The Northridge earthquake put Poury Grace and her family in the hospital--even though none of them were injured.

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Grace, along with her two children, ages 13 and 7, and her 65-year-old mother, fled their second-floor Santa Monica apartment after the Jan. 17 quake and huddled in the cold on the sidewalk.

That is where a fellow nurse at Daniel Freeman Marina Hospital found them after Grace did not show up for work in the morning.

Because of the cracks in the apartment ceiling and other damage, the hospital invited Grace, an administrative nurse there since 1987, and her family to stay in one of its rooms for as long as they need.

The apartment building was not condemned, meaning Grace, 46, and her family may return to their unit. But as of late last week, they remained too unnerved to do so and were seeking another home.

Besides, Grace said, work is the best therapy. In the week after the quake, she admitted 13 victims suffering from heart and respiratory problems.

Sister Anna Mary, director of pastoral care at the nonprofit hospital run by Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, said the invitation accorded Grace would be offered any of its 700 employees displaced by the quake. A room comparable to Grace's would cost $850 a day, Sister Anna Mary said.

Despite her colleagues' generosity, Grace said she does not want to wear out her welcome.

"I really want to get . . . on with my life," she said.

A native of Iran who came to Los Angeles in 1976, Grace is looking for another apartment in the Santa Monica area so that her daughter, Salomeh, and son, Sina, won't have to change schools. Only as a last resort would she move back into the apartment building.

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