21 years ago—Northridge earthquake: photos and memories from that fateful day

By Celeste Greig

Monday, January 17, 1994 the San Fernando Valley, along with several other cities and nearby counties, woke up at 4:35 AM to a brutal, and as it proved, deadly 6.7 magnitude earthquake.  The epicenter was in Reseda, but most of the 59 people who died, and the majority of damaged buildings, hospitals, schools, freeways, CSUN (CA State University at Northridge, loss of homes, the fashion center mall) were in Northridge.

Our family home and business was in Chatsworth.  We lost most of it when the walls came down.  The pool and spa split in half, the piano was destroyed, along with dishes and everything in our pantry.  Most of my Lladro collection, fine china and glasses were broken in small pieces.  Chandeliers came down from the second story with glass all over the floor.  My angel water fountain in the garden fell over, remarkably the angel was still intact. Ted (my soul mate and protector) and I were home.  It was a three day holiday (Martin Luther King Jr’ birthday).  That morning we thought it was the end of the world and all we could do when we finally made it downstairs was to hug each other and pray for the safety of our children who were staying at our cabin in Big Bear, for all our family members, our friends and everybody else.

The neighbors came together.  That day we were all one family.

The first night we tried to sleep outside in our SUV.  That proved impossible with all the aftershocks.  The next day we tried to call hotels to find a room and finally got one in a Hollywood motel.  To be frank, most of the other “guests” at that motel were ladies of the night, pimps and drugs dealers.  But we had no other option.  We were there for two miserable nights and had to pay extra to watch regular TV, as you might have guessed, very few there, actually watched any TV.  However, the porno stuff was free. 

We moved around after that and were broke.  Believe it or not, we had cancelled the homeowners earthquake insurance just four months before that fateful morning.

But we were alive by the grace of God.

We eventually moved to a house less than two miles from where 55 people died when two buildings collapsed on Reseda Blvd, between Plummer and Lassen streets (in Northridge) 1/2 mile from Cal State Northridge.  This time I made sure that it was a “one story house”.

At that time, Richard (Dick) Riordan was mayor of Los Angeles and he took immediate charge of the freeways renovations (great job), Mike Antonovich was our County Supervisor, Hal Bernson our Councilman.  Pete Wilson was the Governor, and Bill Clinton was the President.

You never forget something like that.  Your heart breaks when you hear news of an earthquake happening in other cities or countries.

Here are some photos from that morning 21 years ago:

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Northridge Mall

Northridge Mall

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Celeste Greig is a Constitutional, Conservative political activist, who happens to be a Republican

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