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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 20, 2013 | By Rong-Gong Lin II, Rosanna Xia and Doug Smith
Seismic experts and engineers have long warned that a certain type of wood-framed building is particularly vulnerable to collapse during a major earthquake, because the first story cannot support the weight of the upper stories. During Southern California's last destructive temblor in 1994, about 200 of these buildings were seriously damaged or destroyed, including the Northridge Meadows apartment complex, where 16 people died. Nearly two decades after the Northridge quake, a Los Angeles councilman is calling on the city to consider an inventory of thousands of these so-called soft-story buildings - many of them apartments - that dot the region.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 11, 2014 | By Rong-Gong Lin II, Rosanna Xia, Doug Smith
Mayor Eric Garcetti wants buildings across Los Angeles to be graded for their seismic safety as part of an ambitious plan to help residents understand the earthquake risks of their office buildings and apartments. Garcetti announced what would be the nation's first seismic safety grading system for buildings during his State of the City address Thursday, when he also for the first time said he supports some type of mandatory retrofitting of older buildings that have a risk of collapse in a major earthquake.
OPINION
December 3, 2013 | By The Times editorial board
On Tuesday, the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety will propose a plan for identifying which of the approximately 29,000 apartment buildings constructed in the city before 1978 might be potentially deadly wood frame "soft-story" structures. These buildings, supported by inadequate perimeter walls around open spaces on the ground level - such as carports - run the risk of collapsing during a serious earthquake, causing injury and death. In the 1994 Northridge earthquake, about 200 soft-story buildings were severely damaged or destroyed.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 18, 2013 | By Rong-Gong Lin II, Los Angeles Times
Some of the most extensive damage and loss of life from recent earthquakes in California have occurred in apartment houses where dwellings sit on top of a ground-level parking garage or a storefront. The shaking undermines the bottom floor, causing the buildings to collapse and in some cases to pancake. After years of study and debate, San Francisco on Thursday formally adopted a new law requiring owners to retrofit thousands of these so-called wood-frame soft-story buildings, marking the most sweeping seismic regulations in California in years.
HOME & GARDEN
December 26, 2009 | By Sam Watters
Brinks must be stuffing its armored delivery trucks with Goldman Sachs' annual bonuses. The company's compensation and benefit pool for 2009 is expected to top $20 billion, an average of more than $600,000 for each of the 31,700 company employees whose jobs were saved a year ago by a taxpayer bailout. Among the questions raised by this bonanza: What will bankers do with the money? How to Spend It magazine, published by London's Financial Times, recommends traveling across India by private jet, powder skiing in wintery Japan and collecting priceless art. Donations to boutique charities are OK, but investing billions to benefit the public now in need is not on the list of 2010 spending tips.
WORLD
February 22, 2011 | By John M. Glionna, Los Angeles Times
A devastating magnitude 6.3 earthquake struck the New Zealand city of Christchurch on Tuesday, killing at least 65 people and collapsing buildings onto victims, some of whom used their cellphones to frantically call for help, officials said. Photos: 6.3 earthquake hits New Zealand Rescuers dug through the rubble overnight amid reports that many people were still trapped and that the death toll could rise much higher. A statement posted on the website of the Christchurch Police Department said the fatalities included "two buses crushed by falling buildings.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 16, 2011 | By Michael Miller, Los Angeles Times
The old church building looks forlorn at Warner Avenue and Nichols Street in Huntington Beach, its windows boarded up and the sign that juts over the sidewalk mostly smashed. From a distance, the structure doesn't give many indications of the role it once played in Orange County. Near the front door, though, a small cornerstone bears the words "Japanese Presbyterian Church A.D. 1934. " And that's the history that some in Orange County hope to save. The former Wintersburg Japanese Presbyterian Church — located on a 3.7-acre property along with a historic house, mission and minister's quarters — has belonged to Rainbow Disposal since 2004.
BUSINESS
May 17, 2010 | By Michelle Hofmann
Finding someone to replace windows just got a little more challenging because of tough new lead-safety requirements for contractors working on older homes. The Environmental Protection Agency's Renovation, Repair and Painting rule, which kicked in last month, requires additional safeguards by contractors working on homes, schools and childcare facilities built before U.S. regulators banned lead paint in 1978. The intention is to reduce the harm from lead for contractors and their workers as well as for the people who live, work or attend school in older structures.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 10, 2013 | By Rong-Gong Lin II and Rosanna Xia
Worried about a certain type of wood-framed building particularly vulnerable to collapse during a major earthquake, a Los Angeles City Council committee Tuesday ordered building officials to come up with a plan to identify these structures. Los Angeles officials have long known about the risk of so-called soft-story buildings, particularly after the Northridge earthquake in 1994, when about 200 of these structures were seriously damaged or destroyed. The Northridge Meadows apartment complex was one of them, and 16 people died, many crushed to death in their beds.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 8, 2013 | By Rosanna Xia
Los Angeles city building officials have concluded that inspectors would most likely have to visit all of the city's 29,000 older apartment buildings to determine which ones have a certain type of wood frame that is particularly vulnerable to collapse during a major earthquake. City staffers are developing a plan to winnow out these so-called “soft” story wood-frame buildings among the 29,000 apartment buildings across the city that were built before 1978, Ifa Kashefi, chief of the engineering bureau at the building and safety department, told a group of structural engineers and stakeholders at the annual Buildings at Risk conference.
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