Tehachapi, CA (Other Areas) Earthquake, July 1952
12 DIE IN EARTHQUAKE.
TEHACHAPI CITY FLAT; SOUTH OF STATE ROCKED.
Tehachapi, Calif., July 21. -- (UP) -- One of the heaviest hitting earthquakes in California history bucked through the state today like a wild bronc,
killing and injuring many and turning this little prison town into rubble.
At least 12 persons were killed, crushed beneath tons of tumbling brick and adobe. Another 35 persons were injured. Often piled nine deep in ambulances they were rushed to hospitals at Bakersfield, 50 miles west of here.
United Press Photographer Chuck Nerpel, one of the early arrivals on the "scene of horrible destruction," counted 11 bodies in a makeshift morgue, a building tilted at a crazy angle from the effects of the quake which first hit at 4:55 a.m. (PDT).
While only 11 bodies were counted, there were unconfirmed reports from the Red Cross that a twelfth body had been recovered. And a Los Angeles county sheriff's aero squadron officer, William RIchardson, reported at Bakersfield that he understood 13 were dead.
While the epicenter of the quake, rated second only to the disastrous temblor which leveled and set fire to San Francisco, was in the Mojave desert surrounding this hamlet of 2500. It was felt generally throughout Southern California.
The quake, which began with a rumble like a faroff artillery shell, hit in a series of waves which lasted in diminishing strength for nearly 45 minutes. Slight but infrequent shocks were felt as late as 11 a.m., PDT.
Train tunnels were caved in, the Ridge Route was blocked by a king-sized landslide, streets cracked and buckled, plate-glass windows were broken, power lines were felled, and gas and water mains were broken from Bakersfield and Taft, 120 miles north of Los Angeles, to the Mexican border, 120 miles south of Los Angeles.
One house was down and a half-dozen buildings damaged at Taft, west of Bakersfield. The Maricope Hotel was left without a face as the street wall collapsed, narrowly missing hotel guests ho ran to the street when the first shock was felt.
A church steeple in Glendale was toppled.
In Los Angeles a man was treated for possible concussion as a result of having been bucked from his bed by the violent action of the temblor. Another woman was severely burned when she swept a "hot" wire from her lawn. A man fractured
his arm when tossed from a cafe stool.
The 475 inmates and staff of the beautiful red brick California women's prison seven miles west of here were chased to the lawns by the heavy shocks which made the penal colony building
"unuseable." There were no deaths or injuries among staff nor inmates, however.
Photographer Nerpel reported that three of the dead were daughters of the JOHN MARTIN family
-- aged 8, 10 and 12 -- who were crushed as they slept in their beds. Five members of the BLANCHE CATANA family, formerly of Silver City, N.M., were killed as they, too, slept.
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