Quake Damage to Keep School Building Closed for More Than a Week; Aftershocks Surpass 60

See the update on earthquake damage keeping a Brea school's main building closed for more than a week, more closures and the aftershock count passing 60.

ORIGINAL POST, MARCH 31, 7:07 A.M.: The swarm of earthquakes and aftershocks that shook Orange County Friday and Saturday caused some damage, no serious injuries and the displacement of some residents.

As many as 50 residents of La Habra, which was at or near the center of many of the shakers, spent Friday night in a Red Cross shelter as building inspections were conducted to determine if homes there were safe.


Building inspectors in Fullerton gave the all-clear to 20 apartments in the northeast part of the city, where it was feared structures may have been cracked. Six homes remained red-tagged there, however.

Meanwhile, the Coyote Hills Estates homeowners association says nearly all 400 homes in the Fullerton tract sustained some earthquake damage.

City officials in Brea, Fullerton and La Habra are considering declaring emergencies that will give residents access to low-interest loans for building repairs. Walls tilting, fireplaces cracking and pulling away from walls and building foundations separating are among the damage that has been reported to homes and businesses.

Fanning Elementary School Principal Susan Metcalf sent an email Sunday afternoon to the families of 460 students about the Brea school being closed today due to more safety inspections. A nearby school was handling daycare for Fanning students today.

Carbon Canyon Road in Brea, which closed due to rock slides caused by the quakes, later reopened.

Gas and water lines did rupture because of the quakes, and some store merchandise smashed to the ground.

The U.S. Geological Survey has broken down the activity like this: a magnitude 3.6 quake hit the La Habra area at 8:03 p.m., followed by the more violent 5.1 five miles below the surface. The put that in perspective, the temblor was about 10 times stronger than the March 17 4.4 quake near Encino in terms of energy released, according to Lucy Jones of the USGS.

It was followed Saturday by a series of aftershocks: a 3.4 centered about a mile south of La Habra at 9:02 a.m.; a 4.1 about a mile southeast of Rowland Heights at 2:32 p.m.; a 3.3 at 10:51 p.m. about a mile south-southwest of La Habra; and a 3.1 at 11:17 p.m. a mile south-southeast of La Habra.

The fault, which has previously been mapped, is near the Puente Hills thrust that produced the 1987 Whittier Narrows earthquake that registered a magnitude 5.9, killed
eight people and did hundreds of millions of dollars in damage.

Jones told City News Service her preliminary research indicates the fault was last active on July 8, 1929.

UPDATE, MARCH 31, 2:34 P.M.: A message on the Fanning Elementary School home page states the Brea campus' main building will be closed for a week and potentially longer due to damage assessments following last weekend's earthquake swarm.

The U.S. Geological Survey reports there have been more than 60 aftershocks from the La Habra-centered quake, the most significant today ranging from magnitudes of 1.5 to 2.6 (around 11:15 a.m.).

While there will be fencing around the main building, the rest of the Fanning campus at 650 N. Apricot Ave. will reopen Tuesday, according to principal Susan Metcalf's message. Some classes for lower grades that had been held in the main building are moving to other structures or portables, and Metcalf urged students relocating to bring extra school supplies.

Because the Fanning cafeteria was impacted by the quake, boxed lunches will be brought in for students who receive free or reduced-price meals, Metcalf says.

Meanwhile, City News Service reports Carbon Canyon Road near Olinda Village in Brea remained blocked today as geologists continued to inspect the hillside for possible rockslide danger. Only residents with ID's were being allowed in through 4 a.m. Tuesday, when the road is scheduled to reopen completely.

Over in Fullerton, officials have upped the numbers of residents displaced by the quake at 83, properties red-tagged as uninhabitable at 30 and water main breaks within city limits at 13 (all of which had been repaired by this afternoon).

Email: mc****@oc******.com. Twitter: @MatthewTCoker. Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *