On October 17, 1989, at 5:04 p.m., a magnitude 6.9 (moment magnitude; surface-wave magnitude, 7.1) earthquake severely shook the San Francisco and Monterey Bay regions. The epicenter was located near Loma Prieta Peak in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Ames Research Center experienced a vertical ground acceleration of greater than 1g.
DART self-activated immediately after the first shock. Twenty-one of DART's twenty-four rescue team members responded to NASA Ames Research Center and were on site within three hours. In addition, 18 of the 20 DART Damage and Utility Control Team members responded the first night. During the first 12-hours, DART responded to over 500 building system's alarms, three hazardous materials incidents, and inspected over 90 buildings and research facilities for damage. DART secured dozens of water leaks and natural gas leaks. DART worked around the clock for three days straight.
On the third day of DART's activation the Center was reopened. During that morning an occupant in building 234A inadvertently opened a natural gas valve. The building immediately filled with gas. A member of DART secured the valve. Initial Gastech readings indicated that the level of gas exceeded upper explosive limits. Members of DART's fire brigade responded with Moffett Fire. It took three hours for the level of natural gas to drop below a dangerous level.
Thanks to DART's efforts in response to the problems caused by the earthquake, the overall damage was minimized thereby saving NASA millions of dollars in repair costs. For its efforts DART received the NASA Group Achievement Award.
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