An elected official from northwest Iowa was in San Francisco on Sunday when a 6.1 magnitude earthquake struck the Bay Area. Woodbury County Auditor Pat Gill was on the 11th floor of his hotel at the time, packing to fly back to Sioux City. “At 3:20 p.m., it hit and I thought there was something wrong with me because I staggered a little bit and I thought ‘what is going on here?’ Then, I figured it out because the hangers were bouncing off the wall and it went on for about 20 seconds,” Gill said.
The earthquake damaged historic buildings, buckled major roadways, and ruptured gas lines and water mains through Napa, Sonoma, and Solano Counties. At least 170 people were injured. Gill said he feels lucky. “It was terrifying,” Gill said. “You’re up 11 floors and it’s a concrete building and you’re thinking, ‘man, this thing could go down at any second.'”
Gill left his room and rushed to the hotel’s lobby. “There were lots of folks down there who were very concerned and management was trying to calm everybody’s fears, telling them they weren’t going to evacuate and they could go back to their rooms,” Gill said. “I was so glad I was getting on a shuttle and getting out of there.”
The hotel did not sustain any serious damage and Gill said he didn’t see any damage on his trip to the airport. It was the largest earthquake in the San Francisco bay area since the 6.9 magnitude quake in 1989.
(Reporting by Woody Gottburg, KSCJ, Sioux City)