All Members, Missionaries Safe After 6.0 Quake in Napa, CA

Contributed By Jason Swensen

  • 5 September 2014

Article Highlights

  • Sabbath services were cancelled at the Napa California Stake Center as local leaders made welfare visits to affected members and families.
  • No members suffered physical injury, but Napa city officials estimate there was about $300 million in damage to homes and public buildings.

“All of our missionaries are safe and accounted for. We are ready for our missionaries to serve in their communities.” —Rene Alba, president of the California Santa Rosa Mission

NAPA, CALIFORNIA

Members and missionaries in California's quake-weary Napa Valley continue their cleanup efforts days after a magnitude 6.0 temblor interrupted their Sunday morning.

“We are all doing well,” reported Napa California Stake President Darin Judd. “Fortunately, none of our members suffered physical injury, but there is pretty extensive property damage impacting members living in the American Canyon and Napa areas.”

Several members’ homes suffered deep foundational cracks and other structural damage. Some families may be forced to move out until repairs are made, said President Judd.

The magnitude 6.0 quake struck August 24 at 3:20 a.m., local time, and could be felt in areas across northern California and as far east as Sacramento. The temblor, dubbed the South Napa earthquake, is the largest such seismic event in the Bay Area since the magnitude 6.9 Loma Prieta quake almost a quarter-century ago, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

There were no deaths, but local news agencies reported injuries to some 90 people, with most suffering cuts and bruises from broken glass and falling objects.

Television and online video reports also captured dramatic damage to historic buildings and well-traveled roads in Napa and other quake-impacted communities. Dozens of homes, businesses, and structures were significantly damaged or destroyed. Meanwhile, emergency crews from across the Bay Area responded to gas leaks, water line ruptures, power outages, and fires.

Napa city officials are estimating the earthquake caused about $300 million in damage to homes and public buildings.

The California Santa Rosa Mission covers the affected region.

“All of our missionaries are safe and accounted for,” President Rene Alba told the Church News a few hours after the quake. “We are ready for our missionaries to serve in their communities.”

And serve they have. President Judd reported the missionaries have offered helping hands wherever needed. Meanwhile, neighboring stakes in the Bay Area and across northern California have volunteered and stand ready to help with future cleanup efforts.

The disaster prompted Church leaders to cancel Sabbath services at the Napa California Stake Center. Local priesthood and Relief Society leaders spent their Sunday making welfare visits to affected members and their families.

Napa 3rd Ward Bishop Michael Wagner was sleeping at his Napa home early Sunday when the quake struck.

“The shaking was pretty violent and lasted maybe 10 or 15 seconds,” he said. “Our daughters and grandchildren were downstairs, and they were crying.”

The rumblings at Bishop Wagner’s home were strong enough to overturn file cabinets and break the glass from picture frames.

There did not appear to be any notable structural damage to the stake center in Napa, although several plates and other types of dishware were shattered in the kitchen. The recently refurbished chapel organ was damaged by the shaking. President Judd hopes the instrument will be in working order before the September 7 stake conference.

The earthquake struck four miles northwest of American Canyon, six miles southwest of Napa, and nine miles southeast of Sonoma, according to the USGS. Several aftershocks were felt in the hours and days following the quake.

President Judd said it was fortunate the quake occurred in the early hours when people were in their homes and away from many of the older, large commercial buildings in Napa that were severely damaged.

Contractors pull loose bricks and sort fallen ones from an earthquake-damaged 36,000-square-foot former boat shop on Mare Island Tuesday, August 26, 2014, in Vallejo, California. The building dates from 1904 and was used by the Navy. The historic blue-collar town of Vallejo is a short distance but a far cry from the touristy Napa Valley’s vineyards and quaint towns, but when Sunday’s big earthquake struck, it was not spared. The bayside city that twice was briefly the capital of California sustained more than $5 million in damage and dozens of injuries. It was the latest blow to a town that has weathered years of bankruptcy and is now beset by gangs and crime. Photo by Eric Risberg, Associated Press.

City workers at right map out the installation of fencing around earthquake-damaged buildings Tuesday, August 26, 2014, in Napa, California. The earthquake that jolted California’s wine capital may have caused at least $1 billion in property damage, but it also added impetus to the state’s effort to develop an early warning system that might offer a few precious seconds for residents to duck under desks, trains to slow down, and utility lines to be powered down before the seismic waves reach them. The magnitude-6.0 quake struck early Sunday near the city of Napa. Photo by Eric Risberg, Associated Press.