Your tax-deductible gift today powers our reporters and keeps us independent. We rely on you, our reader, not paywalls to stay funded because we believe important news and information should be freely accessible to all.
Jan. 17 marks the 25th anniversary of the devastating Northridge earthquake, and we're taking a look back through photos at the damage it caused -- and the humanity that shone through despite the destruction.
The quake killed 58 people, injured more than 9,000, displaced 125,000 residents and damaged or destroyed more than 82,000 buildings in Los Angeles, Ventura, Orange and San Bernardino counties.
A 6.7 magnitude earthquake hit the Los Angeles area, centered in San Fernando Valley's Northridge neighborhood. The epicenter was later determined to be near Wilbur Avenue and Arminta Street, about a mile from the Cal State Northridge campus.
Moments after the initial rumble, a 5.9 aftershock struck. Numerous aftershocks followed for months, though most were so small they weren't noticeable.
Structures and homes were leveled. Freeways collapsed. Apartment buildings crushed vehicles parked in carports below. Fires burned all over the city as gas lines ruptured. Thousands of Angelenos were instantly homeless and had no idea what to do.
The destruction on CSUN's campus was extensive and dramatic. A large parking structure collapsed onto itself, its giant columns bent backward by the force of the quake. A fire broke out in a science building. The university's Oviatt Library sustained damage and most of its books were dumped onto the floor. A second library building was so decimated it had to be demolished.
Staff and faculty worked out of tents that became their temporary offices and information center. Despite the quake, the spring 1994 semester started just two weeks later than originally scheduled. The temblor caused more than $400 million in damage and the reconstruction wasn't officially completed until August 2007.
Multiple highways had to be closed due to the damage and surface streets were used as detours. Thousands of residents were without water and electricity as rescue crews began searching the rubble for survivors.
Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan officially declared a state of emergency about an hour after the quake. That was followed by California Gov. Pete Wilson also declaring one, making it easier for the area to get state resources.
That afternoon, President Bill Clinton declared a national disaster for Los Angeles County, helping to direct federal resources to the region.
The California National Guard was deployed to assist help with recovery efforts and maintain order. Tent cities went up at parks and other open spaces for thousands of displaced Angelenos.
Many people refuse to return to their homes, fearing another earthquake. Some slept on their lawns or in their cars. The quake broke water pipes across the region, and officials told people to boil drinking water. Residents kept bottles and jugs to fill up when water trucks rolled in.
President Clinton visited Los Angeles two days after the quake touring damaged roadways and surveying the urban destruction.
"This is a national problem. We have a national responsibility," Clinton told local officials in a hangar at Burbank Airport, according to the L.A. Times. "This is something we intend to stay with until the job is over."
Along with the dozens killed and thousands hurt, the quake caused $20 billion in damage. This video posted by Caltrans shows the scope of the destruction to the region's freeway system and all the work put in to repair the roadways.