Aftershocks terrorize California // One strikes nearly every 40 minutes
Jonathan T. Lovitt
BIG BEAR CITY, Calif. - Widow Cindy Schroeder and her six children have
been living in their front yard.
Roberta Cardiel moved to a temporary tent city.
And Ann Cox is still trying to figure out what to do after her Victorian home slid
off its foundation and down a hillside.
``I'm trying to salvage my belongings,'' says Cox, 52. ``But it's scary going in
there. It teeters like a fun house.''
Since two major earthquakes hit this area June 28, residents have been terrorized
by aftershocks at the rate of about one every 40 minutes. People here are scared,
confused and anxiety-ridden.
And while they barely felt the latest 5.1 quake Saturday near Mojave - 90 miles
north of Los Angeles - it didn't matter. They're still trying to recover from last
Wednesday's shaker measuring 5.3 on the Richter scale and increasing the
number of people who are becoming homeless.
``Everything that didn't come down with the first ones came down Wednesday
night,'' says Schroeder, 35, whose rented home - like many residents here - has
been condemned by city officials. ``If I'm feeling brave, I go inside to use the
stove, but most of the time it's hot dogs on the grill.''
The latest big one sent more than 200 people to a local Red Cross shelter.
``We've had a number of families here night after night,'' says Bill Moak of the
American Red Cross. ``As long as we keep having more aftershocks, people will
keep showing up here.''
Hundreds of residents have moved into tents rather than riding out the
aftershocks slowly destroying their homes.
``I'm a basket case,'' says Roberta Cardiel, 39. An eight-year resident, Cardiel
moved into a temporary tent city with her three daughters after the twin temblors
- measuring 7.4 and 6.5 on the Richter scale - destroyed their home.
``I'm packed and ready to move, but where?'' she says.
Sgt. Mark Taylor of the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department spends his
days re-assessing damage estimates after each new shake.
``When is Cal Tech going to stop calling them aftershocks?'' says Taylor. ``These
In a combined effort, federal, state and local disaster agencies have set up a
special center for victims to find out what - if any - disaster assistance they can
``Most every relief agency has a table here,'' says Bill Sanders of the federal
emergency management agency. But the problem is many people are reluctant to
ask for aid.
``Most of these people have never had to ask the government for anything,''
Sanders says. ``We tell them there's nothing to be ashamed of, but they're still
For many residents of this high mountain area, getting life back to normal has
been all but impossible.
Cox made it through the first quakes. But when she returned from dinner last
Wednesday she found her house at the bottom of a hill.
Peter Klockary, 56, has been living in a tent for almost two weeks. Klockary,
whose legs are paralyzed from polio, lost the small shack he'd been living in for
the past three years.
``I'm O.K,'' he says. ``It would be different if I had a family or kids. My next job
is to find a new place.''
Throughout the area, children are starting to suffer from the constant shifting of
the ground. Officials have started special counseling sessions to try and ease their
``I keep having dreams of my house falling down on me,'' says 11-year-old
Mone' McColum. ``The group keeps me from being scared.''
California Earthquakes Quake site Date of quake Quake force Big Bear Lake
June 28, 6.5 Yucca Valley June 28, 7.4
June 29, 5.6 Pasadena June 30, 3.9
July 8, 5.3 Big Bear Lake July 9, 4.1 Mojave July 11, 5.1
CUTLINE:LIVING IN FRONT YARD: The Schroeders have been living in a
travel trailer outside their damaged home in Big Bear City, Calif. From left,
Jessica, Wesley, Cindy Schroeder, Darlene and Tabatha.
GRAPHIC;b/w,Marty Baumann, USA TODAY ,Source: USA TODAY
research(Map,Calif.);PHOTO;b/w,Bob Riha Jr.,Gamma-Liaison