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O.C. cities take stock of quake damage

In Brea, Fullerton and La Habra, some roads and buildings reopen. Predicted rain is a concern.

March 31, 2014|By Paloma Esquivel and Adolfo Flores
  • Road crews continue to clean up debris from a rock slide on Carbon Canyon Road in Brea after Friday's earthquake. The road has been closed since Friday night and CalTrans plans to reopen the road at 4 a.m. Tuesday.
Road crews continue to clean up debris from a rock slide on Carbon Canyon… (Gina Ferazzi, Los Angeles…)

Three north Orange County cities scrambled Monday to reopen roads and buildings following a magnitude 5.1 quake that snapped water lines, damaged chimneys and left a well-traveled thoroughfare covered in dirt and boulders.

Still, as the workweek began and the extent of damage came into sharper focus, city officials said it appeared the cities along the Los Angeles County border had been lightly touched despite the size of the quake and the continuing aftershocks.

The biggest concern was Carbon Canyon Road, which remained closed Monday as a result of a rock slide Friday, said Anna Cave, emergency preparedness coordinator in Brea. The road, used by an estimated 21,000 commuters a day, was expected to open early Tuesday.

California Department of Transportation crews are planning to close the road again Friday night for repairs and reopen it Sunday.

Cave said the forecast rains could change that: "There's no way of predicting how rain can impact our canyon, even without an earthquake."

The civic center was also closed because of a broken water pipe on the third floor, ceiling tile damage and toppled bookshelves, but it reopened late Monday.

William E. Fanning Elementary School in Brea, which was closed Monday, will reopen Tuesday for students in transitional kindergarten, kindergarten, first grade and a special education class. Second- through sixth-grade students will be relocated to Laurel Elementary School for the rest of the week or until inspectors say their usual classrooms are safe for them to return.

In Fullerton, several buildings that were red-tagged, including an apartment complex that had cracks in the walls, have been re-inspected by city building inspectors and found to be structurally safe, said Mayor Doug Chaffee.

Reinspections of the remaining red-tagged homes, about two or three, were expected to be completed late Monday, he said. Several water mains that broke in the quake have also been repaired.

The city is meeting with state and county officials to determine what types of relief might be available to those affected by the quake, Chaffee said. The city's preliminary estimates are that public and private costs attributable to the earthquake will not exceed $1 million, but that number will be refined over the coming days, the mayor said.

In La Habra, city officials are still assessing damage from the quake, as are officials in Brea.

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