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Los Angeles in Darkness

Los Angeles in Darkness

By Dagoberto Garcia

I was working in the office at the L.A. County Transportation Authority the morning this earthquake began. I have been through a few Southern California earthquakes in my time. Unlike the '71 quake, this one felt like it would never end.

As we ran out into the yard, I remember thinking something was going to fall on me. It was 4:31 a.m. and we were in the process of rolling out the buses for the day. The whole city went black. I've never seen Los Angeles in complete darkness. Then the darkness was marred by power transformers exploding around the city. The shaking was over in 15 seconds, but the clean up is still going on.

We had to find the emergency generator and turn it on manually. That only lit the office. We were finally able to get one emergency phone line out to the head office and were able to coordinate the emergency use of the Los Angeles bus system. I was unable to contact my family for several hours because the regular phone lines were down.

I used my 100LX to do a head count and locate my personnel. I have a database that includes information on bus lines, which buses are assigned to each line, who is supposed to be driving, and which buses were unavailable for use. No one was hurt at our facility. Unfortunately, many others in the Los Angeles area were.

This wasn't the "big one," but it was big enough! I was fortunate to have a cellular phone, which worked perfectly when the rest of the phone lines were down. I'll get another cellular phone for my wife -- just in case!

iPhone Life magazine

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