San Francisco’s Marina was ravaged by fire during the Loma Prieta earthquake, centered 60 miles away.
Thirty years later, experts say, as much as a third of the city is still largely unprotected against the massive fires they fear will be sparked by the Big One.
“The way the situation is now, we are going to have some major conflagrations in the city,” said Charles Scawthorn, an engineer and earthquake fire modeling expert, who predicts as many as 100 separate fires across the city, fueled by broken natural gas lines.
“I don’t mean a few buildings -- I don’t even mean a few blocks – I’m talking about tens, to hundreds of city blocks.”
The city is not totally defenseless – in fact, San Francisco has more in place than any city in the U.S. to battle quake sparked fires, according to Scawthorn.