4.5 Magnitude Earthquake Rocks Bay Area

KCBS Radio Overnight News
October 15, 2019 - 3:02 am
Seismic Earthquake or Lie Detector Test
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(KCBS Radio) - A 4.5 earthquake shook the Bay Area at 10:35 p.m. Monday. The USGS says the epicenter was in Pleasant Hill and was 14.6 km below the surface, or about 9 miles. 

It was felt in all nine Bay Area counties and the USGS says Californians reported feeling the quake all the way east to Tahoe, northeast to Chico and south east to Fresno.

Chris Bachman is the assistant fire chief and fire marshall with the Contra Costa County fire deparment told KCBS Radio that while they did not receive any reports of injuries and only minor reports of damage, the fire department did not escape unscathed. "We do think there might be some minor damage in our Cattalion 1 headquarters bunkhouse. There is no gas leak it is still safe to stay there but there might be minor damage around the foundation."

A smaller 2.5 magnitude earthquake also hit Pleasant Hill about 10 minutes before the big temblor, and USGS geophysicist Amy Vaughan says at least 13 much smaller aftershocks have been recorded.

"I could feel everything just start to shake and it was just jolting," says Veronica, who lives in Pleasant Hill.

"It was not small, it was not brief at all," says Concord resident Denise, whose belongings fell off of her shelves. "It was frighteningly long, the whole building was waving."

"I looked up and the ceiling fan was rocking," said Charles Herculese, a Winters resident.

On Tuesday morning, some workers arrived at work to find minor amounts of damage. At a Safeway supermarket in Plesant Hill, containers of shampoo, laundry detergent and other cleaning products fell from the shelves. The biggest mess was caused by jar of honey that shattered on the floor. 

Safeway Bakery Manager Sherrie Blaine helps clean up in the supermarket after products fell from the shelves during a 4.5 magnitude earthquake on Oct. 14, 2019.
Holly Quan/KCBS Radio

The twin tremors interrupted BART service, with track inspections and reduced speeds leading to 20 minute delays across the whole system.

"At first I thought it was a big truck going by," says one passenger who was waiting for a train at the Rockridge station. "And It just kept moving and moving  until I realized 'oh this is an earthquake'. The signs were shaking." After the earthquake, her train did not arrive for an additional 45 minutes.