Wednesday, April 12, 2006

San Francisco Earthquake

April 18 will be the 100th anniversary of the great San Francisco earthquake. The magnitude 7.8 earthquake devastated the city. The ensuing fire caused even more destruction.

Replace "earthquake" with "hurricane" and "fire" with "flood" and the story sounds a lot like New Orleans in 2005. Luckily New Orleans can learn from Frisco's mistakes. For example there is this word of caution in a U.S. News story about the quake:
As one civil engineer, John Debo Galloway, put it soon after the disaster: "The distant observer will ask why, with virgin ground before it, the city did not cut avenues, widen streets, and build nothing but incombustible buildings." For the business elite that ran the city after the disaster, such safety measures were not an option. "The city had suffered from the greatest fire in history," Galloway wrote. "What San Francisco needs is the cheapest building possible in which business can be done, to insure the community enough to eat. The other subjects can wait."

For more on the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire see: 

No comments: