ashakeout stories Larry Reeves

Larry Reeves

I had tagged along with my wife on her business trip to Cork, Ireland, playing tourist, when the Loma Prieta earthquake hit. Her mother was staying at our house with our two high school age kids while we were gone.

We had not yet adjusted to the time change, and woke up at 4 AM Cork time; turned on the news and saw San Francisco Marina district burning and the collapsed freeway. I immediately called home and got through on the first try. It was 10 PM in Palo Alto. Everyone was ok but power was out and they thought the phone was out also because there was no dial tone. They had been sitting in the dark listening to the news on the battery powered radio. I directed them to check for gas leaks, because TV in Cork was showing the fires in SF from broken gas mains on TV.

There was only minor damage at our house – the sliding glass door in our bedroom rolled open with the quake, a wave from the swimming pool splashed in, then the door rolled shut.

I cut my trip short and flew back as soon as SFO reopened and I could get a flight out of Cork.

Afterwards I did an earthquake preparedness review of our house and secured the tall china cabinet and bookcases to the walls. Then several years later when Palo Alto started the ESV program I signed up, first as a BPC, then later as NPC.