Pacific Union College reported that there were no injuries on campus, and no damage, after an earthquake measuring 6.0 on the Richter scale struck the area last weekend. It was the biggest earthquake to hit the area in 25 years; 172 patients were treated at the local hospital, and 13 with more serious injuries were admitted.
Angwin, the home of PUC, is about 30 miles from where the epicenter was. The campus had a brief power outage, but all the buildings and structures on campus were deemed safe after inspections, and the water supply was declared safe to drink after testing, even though the water has more sediment than usual after the intense shaking.
Classes don’t begin until September 22, so most students were not on campus.
Brittnie Sigamoney, department coordinator for the communication department at PUC, was at home in Napa sleeping when the earthquake struck at 3:20am Sunday morning.
“I knew immediately what was going on,” Brittnie said. “I was really scared.” She woke up her husband Rajeev (who is program coordinator for film & TV at PUC), but they weren’t sure what to do.
“Unfortunately, we had differing views,” Brittnie said. “I thought we were supposed to run out, and he thought we should stay put. . . this was scary.”
The shaking lasted for almost ten seconds.
Rajeev said: “It was dark, so other than the shadows and shaking, we could hear things breaking and falling off of the walls in every room. I have been through a few earthquakes both in Napa and Los Angeles that lasted only a few seconds but the duration of this quake made us realize very quickly it was significant. As we got up afterward, the biggest thing that scared us was the bookshelf that fell in our guest bedroom. Luckily nobody was staying with us or that could have quite easily turned deadly.”
Brittnie said: “Since then we have talked about it and now have a family plan. Turns out Rajeev was right, and it is best to stay put if you're in bed as it's dangerous to run out because things can fall on you.”
The Sigamoneys’ cat got scared and ran away but came back 24 hours later.
“When I was cleaning up I put something back on a shelf and it seemed so silly,” Brittnie said. “My sense of stability has certainly been shaken literally and figuratively — but in a good way. We are grateful to be alive and still have a home.”
Image: From the PUC Facebook page. Some students and faculty help with the cleanup in Napa.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/6217