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Re: Paso Robles Earthquake

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We had some engineers go to the site and the damage is not as wide spread as one would believe from the news coverage.  The building that you see with all the rubble had a brick clock tower installed on the front facade of the building.  It was the brick tower that came down and killed the people.  I don't know about any city ordinances for URM retrofit but my guess would be that they did not.

Thomas Hunt, S.E.
ABS Consulting

"Dennis Wish" <dennis.wish(--nospam--at)>

12/24/2003 01:08 PM

Please respond to

Paso Robles Earthquake

I have seen nothing on the Paso Robles earthquake discussed here and have a couple of questions.
The photos that I have seen published are very limited and the coverage on the news is covered by the heightened security alerts in the US. Two people died in this earthquake and I don’t take this lightly and morn for their deaths. I would assume that these people died in the falling rubble of Unreinforced Masonry Buildings. The question is whether or not these buildings were retrofit. Those retrofit in the Los Angeles area during the Northridge earthquake held together well. The majority of total destruction to URM’s were to those in Santa Monica that had not instituted its mandatory retrofit program.
Can anyone confirm if these buildings were not retrofit?
One lady who died was Marilyn Zafuto (55-years old) and her husband who is grieving is Dennis Zafuto. My wife is also named Marilyn and a we are in the same age range. A chill went up my spine and reminded me to think not only of Marilyn Zafuto and Jennifer Myrick who also died, but of our vulnerability.
Please let me know if Paso Robles has a retrofit ordinance in place. One thing is certain, this was the same lesson that Santa Monica learned during the Northridge earthquake. Buildings can stand for 100 years, but when an earthquake hits that when in the wrong location at the wrong time these older building can fall. This is the first case that I recall (except for a chimney or two that fell on people standing adjacent to them in the 1987 Whittier Narrows earthquake) where two live too many were lost.
Dennis S. Wish, PE

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