Memories Linger From Deadly 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) –- The deadly 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake remains etched in the memories of those who lived through it.

Monday marked the 27th anniversary of the quake that killed 63, injured 3,757 and caused billions of dollars of damage throughout the Bay Area.

When asked on the KPIX 5 Facebook page for the memories of the day, dozens like Mark Newcomb responded.

Newcomb was near the Nimitz freeway that collapsed during the quake. It was the most deadly placed to be as 42 died there and dozens were seriously injured.

“Over 100 people crushed in their cars when the upper deck collapsed on to the lower deck,” he wrote. “We could hear them screaming for Help as we tried to free them. So many people in the neighborhoods came out to try to save people’s lives. It was Heroic.”

Melody Dahlberg was at work at a grocery store in downtown Los Gatos.

“I worked at Petrini’s grocery store in downtown Los Gatos,” she wrote. “Our roof fell in and our managers had just left about an hour before to go to SF for a meeting. When we turned on our car radios and heard about the bridge it was horror 😥 😥 😥”

Eugene Wong remembers as an 11-year-old hiding under a desk in his room with his younger sister

“I was in my room with my sister, we each had a desk in that room, so we both hid under our desks like we were taught in school,” he wrote. “It felt like an eternity and it felt more like I was on a boat rather than an earthquake at the time. Dishes fell from the kitchen cabinets and the fridge moved about a foot out from where it was supposed to be.”

Bernadette Pellowski Turner was heading to class at Hayward State when the quake struck. She remembers when she arrived, the campus was eerily empty.

“I was driving to Cal State Hayward for a night class,” she wrote. “I thought I had a flat tire, so stopped and checked. Got up to class but no one was around. Someone came by and told me we just had a major earthquake and I had to leave the building. Driving home I saw all the broken shop windows on Mission Blvd. Very weird as I did not really feel the earthquake.”

Ney Ney Perry was at home surrounded by her kids.

“I was home with my 2 kids and 7 months pego with with the 3rd in San Leandro,” she wirte. “Wow 27 years it was scary.”

June Benson was home in Santa Cruz where the quake caused widespread devastation and several deaths.

“My house burned to the ground,” she wrote.

Maya Cooper was in Pacific Grove.

“My home was rockin’ and a-rollin,’ she wrote. “Super frightening and then to find out the devastation done in the Bay Area was alarming to say the least! World Series Day at 5:00 (Quake struck at 5:04 p.m.); will never forget.”

For Heather McCollum, the quake was frightening, but the memory has a silver lining.

“My dad and grandpa were still alive and I was watching the baseball game with them,” she wrote.

Reagan Murray was in a San Francisco high rise, but heading to the lobby to go out and watch the Oakland Athletics-San Francisco Giants World Series game.

“I was standing in the 24th floor elevator lobby in 100 Pine Street at 5:04pm (glad I wasn’t in an elevator) waiting to go down to the Royal Exchange to watch the Giants/A’s game,” he wrote. “You’d have to feel the shock waves rushing through the building, throwing people around, the sounds of people screaming and the building’s steel and glass straining against the forces. We walked down 24 stories and were met with shocked citizens and a totally surreal scene. One of those life events you never forget nor one that you’d want to experience again.”

Laura Acosta Morisch was buying alcohol for a friend’s birthday when the store began to shake in San Jose.

“I was at Payless in San Jose on Capital Ave. {it was a drug store at that time} buying a bottle of Tequila for a friends birthday,” she write. “Everything was falling off the shelves. I got under the register and opened that bottle and took the biggest swig. Very scary.”

Sue Beck actually has a reason to celebrate while remembering the quake.

“I was at Mills Peninsula Hospital in San Mateo….in labor with my son Andy / Andrew who’s patron saint is San Andreas,” she wrote. “My son will turn 27 at 3:51 a.m. almost 11 hours after Loma Prieta.”



One Comment

  1. Perry Q says:

    People act as if 63 people are a lot of people. It is tragic that not more people died during that quake. It would have meant a better quality of life for the rest of us.
    Thankfully earthquakes in developed countries claim many more people each and every year.
    Once in a while, God smiles on us takes a shaiit on the dumb 3rd worlders..

  2. Steve Larson says:

    4 minutes before the quake I was underneath the Cypress Structure enjoying the world series.

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