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Napa, Calif., earthquake: Economic hit could reach $1 billion

Napa earthquake may have caused up to $1 billion in economic damage, USGS says
All of the approximately 70,000 customers who lost power after earthquake have had their service restored

The destructive 6.0-magnitude earthquake in Napa County, California, that injured scores of people, ruined historic buildings and buckled streets may have caused as much as $1 billion in damage, the U.S. Geological Survey estimated.

Centered about nine miles south of wine country's Napa at 3:20 a.m. Sunday, the earthquake was the largest to strike the Bay Area since the 6.9 Loma Prieta temblor of 1989, the USGS said, and it lasted 10 to 20 seconds.

So far, 49 buildings had been red-tagged, and more than 100 had been yellow-tagged. The earthquake also set off 50 fires, one of which destroyed six mobile homes.

Susan Garcia, a spokeswoman for the USGS Earthquake Science Center, said the economic hit caused by the quake is more likely to be in the “several hundreds of millions.”

Officials were still in the process of assessing the city's infrastructure and did not yet have a damage estimate, which will be needed as they press for a federal disaster declaration.

At least 65 aftershocks have rattled Napa and its surrounding areas since the earthquake struck.

Also on Monday, PG&E spokesman Jeff Smith said power had been restored to all of the approximately 70,000 customers who were left in the dark as a result of the earthquake. The company had also responded to all of the more than 400 calls about gas odors, he said.

Twenty customers in Napa and Sonoma counties were still without gas service because damage prohibited workers from restoring it safely, Smith said. Company workers also were going door-to-door to double check gas structures – a process that could take days to complete.

Crews were also working to fix 90 leaks in the water system as hundreds of customers waited for their service to be re-connected.

“I can tell you that with 10 crews, we're doing our level best to get everybody back and fixed as quickly as possible," Public Works Director Jacques LaRochelle said at an afternoon news conference.

“I can tell you that with 10 crews, we're doing our level best to get everybody back and fixed as quickly as possible," Public Works Director Jacques LaRochelle said.

The CHP reported that California 121 at California 29 was damaged, with cracks that could cause flat tires. The CHP for the Solano district dispatched its graveyard shift immediately to search for damage and quickly found it: An overpass in Vallejo on California 37 headed toward American Canyon showed several areas where the roadway had separated and concrete had crumbled.

According to the USGS, the earthquake occurred within 44 miles of a set of major faults along the San Andreas fault system that forms the boundary between the Pacific and North American tectonic plates.

As of Monday morning, more than 39,000 people in 600 ZIP codes had self-reported feeling the earthquake, a USGS online survey said. The largest number of reports came out of the 94111 ZIP code in San Francisco, while the most violent shaking was reported in Yountville, Calif.

Follow the reporter on Twitter: @MattStevensLAT

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
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