First responders and those who lived through the Northridge Earthquake gather two decades later on Friday and recount the chaos at the Northridge Recreation Center. Toni Guinyard reports from Northridge on Friday, Jan. 17, 2014.
First responders and community members gathered in Northridge Friday morning to mark the 20th anniversary of the devastating 1994 earthquake that claimed the lives of 57 people and caused billions of dollars in damage.
“Afterstories” was held to mark an event that Los Angeles Councilman Mitchell Englander said is still very fresh to many people’s minds two decades later.
“Twenty years later, people remember it like it was yesterday,” Englander said. “It was devastation, it was shock, it was chaos, it was a lot of lives lost.”
The event was held about a mile away from where 16 tenants died when the three-story Northridge Meadows Apartment building collapsed.
“I spent 12 hour days at Northridge Meadows” said Ronald Black, a retired building and safety inspector. “There was still clouds of dust in the air.”
Paper lanterns were signed with messages and placed throughout the Northridge Recreation Center to commemorate the day’s events and lives lost in the earthquake.
“Twenty years ago, I was a freshman at CSUN, at my apartment when the earthquake hit it. It felt like a monster picked up our building, the din from the cracking wood and car alarms filled the air,” wrote Filiberto Gonzalez.
The event was also meant to celebrate those who had survived the earthquake,
“Not knowing what was coming, no electricity, broken glass everywhere, looking for loved ones,” Englander said. “It was a scary, scary time.”
The earthquake registered a 6.7-magnitude and collapsed buildings and freeway overpasses, snapped water and gas lines, and caused hundreds of fires and landslides.