Several miles south of the earthquake’s epicenter near Napa, older buildings atop the hills in downtown Vallejo suffered severe damage.
Aracely Jaleel and her six children ran through shattering glass, falling ductwork and a blizzard of paint chips to escape from the upper floor of the family’s two-story commercial building in Vallejo. Her husband, toiling late downstairs in their electronics repair shop, weathered the quake beneath his workbench, while the family’s parrots flew out a window.
“The kids were screaming, holding each other. The little one is still panicking, afraid it will come back tonight,” Jaleel said, surveying the rubble-strewn living room as her children swept up shards of glass from broken family photos and light fixtures.
Her husband, Mohammad Jaleel, said it will take him weeks to clean up the chaos.
Flat screen TVs and computers were strewn on the floor or leaned in cockeyed piles. City workers had strung yellow warning tape across the front of the building, and posted a yellow “restricted use” warning to the door.
“What do you do?” Mohammad Jaleel said, lifting his arms in exasperation. “It is Mother Nature.”
Half a dozen blocks away, part of the outer wall of the First United Methodist Church, built in 1922, had crashed to the sidewalk. Inside, the floor was littered with plaster and paint chips, and a stuffed toy on a shelf had fallen, but there was little other visible damage, said Rev. Renee Rico.
Inside, a congregation was holding its Sunday service.
“I’ve had churches that had major fires,” Rico said. “So this is nothing.”
For breaking news, follow @paigestjohn