On Monday, January 17, 1994 at 4:31 A.M., Pacific Standard Time, a moderate, but very damaging earthquake with a moment magnitude of 6.7, struck the densely populated San Fernando Valley, in the northern part of Los Angeles, California. Thousands of aftershocks, many in the magnitude 4.0 to 5.0 ranges, occurred during the next few weeks, further damaging already-affected structures.
The death toll was 57, and more than 1,500 people were seriously injured. A few days after the earthquake, 9,000 homes and businesses were still without electricity; 20,000 were without gas; and more than 48,500 people had little or no water. About 12,500 structures were moderately to severely damaged, leaving thousands of people temporarily homeless. Of the 66,546 buildings inspected, 6% were severely damaged (red tagged) and 17% were moderately damaged (yellow tagged). In addition, damage to several major freeways serving Los Angeles choked the traffic system in the days following the earthquake. Major freeway damage occurred up to 32 km from the epicenter. Collapses and other severe damage forced closure of portions of 11 major roads to downtown Los Angeles.
When the disastrous earthquake struck Southern California, California Task Force 3 was once again called to respond, and although not utilized, the team benefited greatly from the deployment. Team training and the opportunity to visit and crawl around in the collapsed Northridge Meadows Apartment complex proved to be very beneficial to the team. Ten Members of DART deployed with California Task Force 3.
Sixteen people were killed when the 164-unit Northridge Meadows Apartment collapsed.
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