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LOS ANGELES TIMES SPECIAL REPORT : IMAGES OF THE NORTHRIDGE EARTHQUAKE : Response : A LIFE-SAVING MOBILIZATION CUTS THROUGH THE CHAOS

January 31, 1994

After the shaking stopped, the rescue began.

Working amid mountains of broken concrete, firefighters searched for bodies and the survivors. Even those with long experience found themselves unequal to some of the challenges presented by this disaster. When a child's body was found in the Northridge Meadows rubble, one turned away from the mother, leaving it for someone else to tell the woman that her son was dead.

And because there was so much rescuing to do, in many places it fell to neighbors to coax terrified people out of buildings that had folded in on themselves. Then the good Samaritans handed out food, blankets, even socks to one barefoot evacuee.

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