January 17, 1994, Granada Hills, CA (Patrick Downs -photographer)

The 6.7 magnitude Northridge earthquake shook the entire San Fernando Valley at 4:31 am on January 17, 1994. It was the costliest natural disaster in United States history at that time and the total destruction was estimated at $20 billion dollars, with an estimated $49 billion of economic loss. The earthquake caused massive destruction to freeways, roads, and the overall transportation system of California. On Balboa Blvd., two water mains broke causing an explosion that propelled a 300 pound chunk of concrete to fall through the roof of a home and a river of water to flow miles down the street. Subsequently, the ignition of a stalled car caused the broken gas main to ignite. The ensuing flames reached a height of hundred feet and created a ten foot deep crater. Ultimately, five homes on the same block burned to the ground. The Granada Hills incident was so severe it warranted a brief visit from then President Bill Clinton, two days later.

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