The quake that struck Napa, California, snapped gas lines and sparked at least a half-dozen major fires, but it also ruptured water mains which crippled firefighters' efforts until they found a nearby swimming pools.
The eruption of flames threatened to trap people in their homes, particularly in mobile home parks that were hard hit by the fires.
“The fire just exploded,” said Bill Linder, a resident at the Napa Valley Mobile Home Park. “It was terrifying.”
State of Emergency After Northern California Shaken By Biggest Earthquake In 25 Years
Four of the homes burned to the ground, with other homes damages. That damage was compounded by the fact that the earthquake also ruptured water lines – leaving firefighters struggling to find a way to put the fires out.
Resident Frank Jones said the firefighters got creative in battling the flames.
“We do have two swimming pools here in the community. They were able to siphon water of the pool and into their truck, and come back several times to fight the fire behind my house,” Jones said.
Homeowners remain shaken, losing everything but the clothes on their backs.
“We didn’t really know what happened. The house was already on fire and it was hard to get out … it was really scary,” said Theresa, one of the residents.
The earthquake is the strongest northern California has faced in 25 years, and damage from the earthquake could reach $1 billion.