NAPA (AP) — A 65-year-old woman who suffered a head injury when a television struck her during last month’s earthquake in California’s wine country has died — the first death attributed to the magnitude-6.0 temblor, sheriff’s officials said.
Laurie Anne Thompson was at her Napa home during the Aug. 24 quake when she was hit, according to the Napa County Sheriff’s Office. Thompson told family members that she was asleep in a reclining chair in her living room when a TV struck her in the head during the earthquake, Capt. Steven Blower said Wednesday.
Thompson did not go to the hospital until the next day when she told her family that she felt dizzy and experienced a decline in mental function, Blower said. She collapsed and was rushed to a hospital, where she died Friday due to bleeding in her skull, sheriff’s officials said.
“Her condition continued to deteriorate over time and, unfortunately, she passed away,” Sheriff’s Capt. Doug Pike said.
The earthquake has not claimed any other lives, but left scores of people injured, among them a 13-year-old boy who broke his pelvis in several places when part of a chimney collapsed on him.
It was the strongest quake to hit the San Francisco Bay area since a magnitude-6.9 quake in 1989.
The temblor was centered near the city of Napa and broke water mains and gas lines and sparked gas-fed fires that destroyed several mobile homes. The worst damage and disruption was confined to downtown Napa, where a post office, library and a 141-room hotel were among 150 homes and buildings deemed unsafe to occupy.
The county’s famed wineries also suffered damage, with oak wine barrels weighing more than a quarter-ton and stacked high cascading down.
A survey commissioned by the Napa Valley Vintners Association and Napa County and presented to the county on Tuesday estimated that 60 percent of Napa wineries suffered some damage, with as much as 25 percent suffering moderate to severe damage exceeding $50,000 per winery. The most devastated winery suffered $8 million in damage, according to the survey by Silicon Valley Bank’s Wine Division. The winery is not identified.
The wine business and associated tourist crowds represent the bulk of Napa County’s economy. Visit Napa Valley estimates that 3 million tourists spend $1.4 billion a year within the county. The Napa Valley Vintners trade association says the industry generates more than $13 billion of economic activity each year, including 46,000 local jobs.
Silicon Valley Bank estimated the damage to the county’s wine industry at between $70 million and $100 million.
Napa County has estimated overall damage from the quake at more than $400 million.