April 18, 1906, “DISASTROUS EARTHQUAKE AT SAN FRANCISCO, CAL.”
As reported in the Johnstown Daily Republican, Fulton County, NY
A Large Number of Killed and Injured Reported
Homes Have Been Wrecked and Fired–The Water Works Destroyed, Leaving the City at the Mercy of the Devouring Element.–The Whole Business Section of the City Has Been Wiped Out.– Particulars Meagre, Owing to the Destruction of Nearly All the Telegraph Lines.
San Francisco, Cal., April 18, 10 a.m.– Earthquake shocks and fire have dealt this city a staggering blow. The fire is still raging. The business section of the city is doomed and the residence sections are imperiled. Water and gas have burst. There is no water to fight the fast spreading fires. Escaping gas has caused explosions, broken electric light wires are a source of great danger.
The first earthquake was felt at 5:13 a.m. The city was just waking for the day. There was first a terrible rumble. Then the city trembled Big buildings rocked like ships in a pitching sea. Then they crumbled and crashed into ruin. Scores of persons were caught in the debris.
Residents, in a state of panic, rushed into the streets. Questions flew from lip to lip. Succeeding shocks added to the terror of the people. People staggered when they tried to walk. The earth continued to tremble. Fire alarms came fast from various parts of the city. The firemen, brave though in peril, rushed their apparatus where it seemed it was most needed. They could do no work. Everywhere mains had burst and streams of water were uselessly spouting in the streets. A high wind arose. The flames were carried from building to building. The fire fighters resorted to dynamite to check the progress of the flames. Explosion followed explosion as buildings were blown up. This proved little hindrance to the flames. Fires broke out here and there faster than the dynamite could be used. The people slowly gathered their wits, though many fled, terror stricken.
The catastrophe made heroes in a moment. The crowds gathered close as possible to the most dangerous points and began to carry their dad and injured from the ruins.
Source: NYS Historic Newspapers