The story of a quake, a fire, and a city.

The City that Rocked

the story of a city, a quake, and the aftermath

By William Chiappetta

The City

that Rocked 

by William Chiappetta

people asleep

 

all nestled in bed

 

some tossing and turning

 

till a moment of dread.

the houses all tremble

 

people all scream

 

the heaviest sleepers

wake up from their dreams

 

fires break out

 

red in the sky

 

children are fearful

 

some of them cry

 

the earthquake stops

 

fires still burning

 

now people's emotions

 

are tossing and turning.

chaos ongoing

 

many are dead

 

nowhere to go

 

yet families still fled

 

firefighters trying

 

but to no avail

 

so they blew up buildings

 

in the fire’s trail

more fires now

 

explosions ongoing

 

police and authorities

 

have trouble controlling

they shut down the bars

 

and told soldiers to shoot

 

people trying to steal

 

the innocent’s loot

 

the military helped

 

with barges of water

 

they sprayed on the fires

 

so they couldn’t get hotter

 

slowly but surely

 

the fires went out

 

the city would pull through

 

without a doubt

memories fresh

 

of buildings collapse

 

but was it for the better?

 

maybe… perhaps…

 

san francisco construction

 

ongoing a new

 

some filled with hope

 

as the city grew

but people are living

 

in small wooden shacks

 

all aware

 

of the homeliness it lacks

 

discrimination

 

 

troubles old and new

 

 

but they tromp through it

 

 

and no one is blue

the small little shacks

 

all over the nation

 

housing the people

 

twas quite a sensation

the new city would

 

be magnificent they said

 

everyone happy

 

with nothing to dread

slowly but surely

 

the huts were diminished

 

people moving to the city

 

the shack life was

 

finished

everyone happy

 

new houses to boot

 

everyone safe

 

worth a holler or hoot

 

although there were

 

troubles

 

and setbacks too

 

everything is ok now

san francisco starts a new

and so came an end

 

 

to the great quake

 

lets hope it won’t happen again

 

for goodness sake

Author's Note

 

“There was practically nothing left…”

 

It was a warm morning on April 18th, 1906. many people were just waking up when it happened. At 5:12am, the earthquake began to rock san francisco furiously. The earthquake had a magnitude of about 7.8, and an amplitude of 3 Inches. The earthquake itself only lasted about 45 - 60 seconds long, but the chaos was ongoing. The earthquake started many fires, which were spreading at an alarming rate.

 

Due to the annihilation of the piping that connected the fire hydrants, and other reliable sources of water. The firefighters decided the best choice would be to demolish the buildings in the path of theblazing inferno. In the end, the plan had backfired and the inexperienced explosives team ignited even more fires.

 

One of the fires was surprisingly started when a woman’s chimney, recently half destroyed by the quake, restricted smoke from rising out when she tried to cook ham and eggs. The same fire ended up being the biggest blaze out of them all, and caused the devastating end to 30 blocks worth of buildings.

 

People were trapped in the city by rubble, and the only  way out was by a ferry boat. It was a mad rush to board a single one of them. The fires were still raging on, and it did not look like they would stop soon. The mayor ended up saying it was ok to kill anyone who tried to commit any act of thievery, and to shut down every single bar in the city, so no drunk men and women could run rampant on the streets. This helped, making sure every single fireman could focus on fires, and not uncontrollable citizens.

 

700,000 people were now homeless. 3000 were dead. And it was not yet the end of the hardships. To help, the army made relief houses - small cramped cottages to house citizens left without homes -  and placed them all over the state. The cottages were very small, and ontop of that, the chinese population of san francisco was being discriminated, and were being passed around camps across the country.

Although it took awhile san francisco was up and running again by 1915, and was much improved from the disorganized mining town it once was.