Napa residents continue rebuilding more than one week after quake

More than a week after the Napa's 6.0 earthquake, residents are continuing the long process of rebuilding.
Tuesday, September 02, 2014
Nine days after the Napa Earthquake, Governor Jerry Brown Tuesday asked the White House to issue a major disaster declaration stating that the economic impacts of the event will be extensive.

The damage from the earthquake continues to pop up. A water main broke in a Napa neighborhood Tuesday afternoon and gushed for a half an hour, then left a six inch buckle in the street.

Despite this, progress is being made. Downtown, city inspectors removed 20 buildings from the red-tag list. Homeowners and businesses are all in the process of rebuilding, too.

Jay Williamson, owner of a men's clothing store in Napa, said he's not sure when things will get back to normal. He's currently sharing the back room of his store with a woman from across the street.

For Indra Fortney, Williamson's neighbor, it means figuring out what to do next. One of her businesses was fine, but the new space she leased was red-tagged. "It's time for creative thinking, for sure," she said.

Rebuilding in Napa is associated with words of all kinds, most of them short, posted on the sides of buildings.

For Peggy Owens Erridge, that word is open and it's been written on a homemade sign hung outside of her storefront. Erridge reopened her store without replacing the glass windows she had before the earthquake hit.

"With everybody who needed glass and all of the glass in the City of Napa destroyed, I think we're doing real well," Erridge said.

Though in Napa, real well is a relative term.

The County of Napa is doing real well in clearing out a main building and moving 5,000 boxes. Napa County engineer Paul Wilkinson said he can't even count the number of hours the project will take.

Outside in Downtown Napa, building owner Mike Desmoni Jr. said progress is moving along on his historic building. "It was built in the late 1880s," he said, and now it will be rebuilt in 2014-2015.

Even Michelle Kidwell says she's doing pretty well considering her building's carport collapsed outside her apartment with all the vehicles still inside. Her apartment is cleaner and a religious medal remains on her wall, unmoved by the quake. "I think I'll leave it," she said.

Many of these residents still await insurance adjusters.

The only help Kidwell has received so far is a gift card from management of $50, which doesn't buy much, she said.

Napa schools are also recovering. Schools that were damaged in last Sunday's earthquake resumed classes Tuesday, but things aren't completely back to normal. There are large cracks in some of the walls at Saint John the Baptist Catholic School, but the building is mostly ready. Workers have built and decorated a construction wall to block the section of the school that's still considered unstable. The principal started the day with an earthquake drill.

For the time being, seventh graders will meet in the library and the eighth grade will hold classes in the art room. The principal has also moved her office.

And in Vallejo, the city is also making progress.

Engineers have upgraded First Baptist Church of Vallejo from a red-tag to a yellow-tag, allowing people back inside.

Construction crews removed three-feet of bricks from the bell tower, which had separated from the church during the earthquake. The church says everyone worked together quickly to ensure every mass was held and every free meal given out to those in need."We are very grateful," Al Mark, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Vallejo. "The city, police and fire they were here and they did what needed to be done to make sure it was safe for everyone."
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