YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Times readers share memories of Sylmar earthquake

One Los Angeles Times reader recalls thinking that the world was ending as her home was being damaged by the shaking earth during the 1971 Sylmar earthquake.

February 10, 2011|Robert J. Lopez, Los Angeles Times
  • Los Angeles County ambulances and other vehicles were caught under the collapsed roof of a parking structure at Olive View Hospital in Sylmar on Feb. 9, 1971. The 6.6-magnitude quake led to 62 deaths.
Los Angeles County ambulances and other vehicles were caught under the… (Boris Yaro )

Forty years ago Wednesday, the disastrous Sylmar earthquake struck the Los Angeles region, killing 62 people, flattening buildings and crumpling roads. Many of the victims of the 6.6-magnitude temblor were inside a hospital that collapsed.

For many readers on, it was a day they will never forget.

"The refrigerator tipped over and spilled everything out, windows fell out, cement walls fell onto our car," one recalled. "I truly believed in the moment that this was the end of the world."

"I could see the flashing transformers, as power lines were coming down in Sylmar," one reader wrote.

"I just remember being in the air (I was thrown out of my bed)," recalled another reader. "I don't even remember hitting the ground."

"My sisters were stuck in their room because the bookcase fell in front of their door, so I pushed the door as hard as I could and rescued them," wrote another. "We made it out to the backyard. All of the backyard walls had fallen over, and you could see the house moving in the aftershocks."

For more reader memories, go to

Los Angeles Times Articles