The Napa Valley Chabad Jewish Center suffered damage Sunday in a 6.0 magnitude earthquake, the largest quake to hit the San Francisco Bay Area in 25 years which sent scores of people to hospitals, ignited fires, damaged historic buildings and knocked out power to thousands of homes and businesses in California’s wine country.
The quake hit early Sunday morning and Napa was declared a disaster area by California Gov. Jerry Brown.
Rabbi Elchonon Tenenbaum, who has directed the Chabad house since 2006, told the Chabad.org website that he found broken glass and furniture strewn everywhere, as did most of his neighbors.
Tenenbaum said he waited outside with his neighbors until the light of day before entering the center, which also is his home, to view the damage.
“I went to check up on people in the area and found that they were in a similar situation,” Tenenbaum told Chabad.org. “Their houses are standing but everything inside has been ruined. Thank God, this happened in the middle of the night when we were in our beds, and not in other parts of our homes where heavy bookcases fell over.”
Many homes in the area, including Chabad, remain without power.
The magnitude-6.0 quake, which ruptured water mains and gas lines and damaged some of the region’s famed wineries, sent residents running out of their homes in the darkness. Three people — two adults and a child — were critically injured.
Dazed residents too fearful of aftershocks to go back to bed wandered through Napa’s historic downtown, where the quake had shorn a 10-foot chunk of bricks and concrete from the corner of an old county courthouse. Boulder-sized pieces of rubble littered the lawn and street in front of the building and the hole left behind allowed a view of the offices inside.
President Barack Obama was briefed on the earthquake, the White House said, and federal officials were in touch with state and local emergency responders.
Napa Fire Department Operations Chief John Callanan said the city had exhausted its own resources trying to extinguish at least six fires after 60 water mains ruptured, as well as transporting injured residents, searching homes for anyone trapped and responding to reports of 50 gas leaks.
The earthquake sent at least 120 people to Queen of the Valley Medical Center in Napa, where officials set up a triage tent to handle the influx. Most patients had cuts, bumps and bruises suffered either in the quake, when they tried to flee their homes or while cleaning up, hospital CEO Walt Mickens said. Three people were admitted with broken bones and two for heart attacks.
The temblor struck about six miles south of Napa around 3:20 a.m., according to the United States Geological Survey. It was the largest to shake the Bay Area since the magnitude-6.9 Loma Prieta quake struck in 1989, collapsing part of the Bay Bridge roadway and killing more than 60 people, most when an Oakland freeway fell.
Sunday’s quake was felt widely throughout the region, with people reporting feeling it more than 200 miles south of Napa and as far east as the Nevada border.