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Mexico Earthquake Devastation Spurs SoCal Cities to Start Identifying Seismically Vulnerable Buildings

Rescuers, firefighters, policemen, soldiers and volunteers remove rubble and debris from a flattened building after a powerful quake in Mexico City on Sept. 19, 2017. (Credit: Alfredo Estrella / AFP / Getty Images)

Rescuers, firefighters, policemen, soldiers and volunteers remove rubble and debris from a flattened building after a powerful quake in Mexico City on Sept. 19, 2017. (Credit: Alfredo Estrella / AFP / Getty Images)

A number of cities big and small in Southern California are taking steps to identify seismically vulnerable buildings for the first time in a generation, acting in part on the devastating images of earthquake damage in Mexico and elsewhere around the world.

“What happened last year in Mexico City, we don’t want to experience in California,” David Khorram, Long Beach’s superintendent of building and safety, said of the quake that left more that 360 people dead. “We want to be progressive.”

In hopes of mitigating the loss of life from a major quake that experts say is inevitable, Long Beach is discussing spending up to $1 million to identify as many as 5,000 potentially vulnerable buildings. The city of Moorpark already has agreed to spend up to $10,000 for its own survey of at-risk buildings.

Malibu is taking stock of its structures, including those with flimsy first stories — such as apartments with skinny columns holding up carport parking on the ground floor, known as “soft-story buildings.” Officials in Ventura and Hermosa Beach are doing the same.

Read the full story on LATimes.com