San Francisco Rattled by Strongest Quake Since 1989

Ron Harris in San Jose, California
Associated Press
October 31, 2007

A magnitude 5.6 earthquake shook the San Francisco Bay Area Tuesday night, rattling homes and nerves, but there were no immediate reports of serious damage or injuries.

The moderate temblor struck shortly after 8 p.m., about 9 miles (14 kilometers) northeast of San Jose, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). Residents reported feeling the quake as far east as Sacramento and as far north as Sonoma (California map).

The California Highway Patrol has received no reports of damage or injuries, Spokesperson Tom Marshall said.

The tremor was the strongest in the Bay Area since 1989, when a magnitude 7.1 quake killed 62 people.

The epicenter of the quake was near Alum Rock, in the Diablo Range foothills east of San Jose—not far from the home of San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed.

Pictures fell off the walls of Reed's house, but the mayor said there was no major damage there.

"It was a pretty strong ride here, a lot of shaking but nothing broken," Reed told the Associated Press in a phone interview from his home. "I've talked to a few people and we have no reports of injuries or damage. There was a lot of shaking, but it wasn't the 'Big One.'"

Amrit Shergill, a night cashier at Alum Rock Shell gasoline station in San Jose, said there was no damage other than some small items that toppled off a shelf—but the intensity of the shaking sent her outside and crouching on the sidewalk.

"My God, I felt like running because the roof might come down on my head," said Shergill, who was born in India. "I've never felt anything like this in 16 years in the United States."

Rod Foo, a resident of south San Jose, about 10 miles (16 kilometers) from the epicenter, said everything in his house shook for several seconds, but the electricity never went out and his telephone was still working.

"I could hear it coming up the street before it hit the house," said Foo, a former reporter with the San Jose Mercury News. "I thought it was the kids messing around at first, then I felt the house shaking and I knew it was an earthquake. "

The USGS reported ten aftershocks, the biggest with a preliminary magnitude of 2.1.

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