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The Los Angeles City Council on Friday adopted the nation’s strongest earthquake safety laws, requiring that the owners of an estimated 15,000 buildings most at risk of collapse during a major quake make the structures stronger.

The 12-0 vote caps decades of debate over whether the city — located in the heart of California earthquake country — should force building owners to retrofit structures that could fail.

Studies estimate that a massive earthquake in the Los Angeles area could kill 3,000 to 18,000 people and cause up to $250 billion in damage.

Written by Mayor Eric Garcetti, the ordinance targets two of the most dangerous types of buildings: brittle concrete buildings and wood apartment complexes with weak first stories, which have killed more than 65 people in Los Angeles’ last two major earthquakes.

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