San Bernardino City Hall temporarily closed after earthquake warning

Rob McMillan Image
Tuesday, October 4, 2016
San Bernardino City Hall temporarily closed due to earthquake warning
After an earthquake swarm in the Salton Sea area triggered a warning of elevated quake risk, San Bernardino officials decided to close City Hall for a few days out of an abundance of caution.

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (KABC) -- Out of an abundance of caution, San Bernardino City Hall has been shut down for several days after warnings of a higher chance of a big earthquake in Southern California.

The warnings followed a swarm of quakes in the Salton Sea area more than a week ago. Afterward, the California Office of Emergency Services put out a warning that the chances of a magnitude 7.0 or greater earthquake are slightly greater than normal.

The city of San Bernardino said it didn't hear the warning until this weekend - learning of it through the news media - and then decided to close City Hall until Wednesday.

That resulted in a lot of disappointed people Monday who had come to the building to pay bills or apply for permits. Some felt the city was overreacting.

Seismologist Lucy Jones said after an earthquake swarm the chances of a large earthquake are higher, but now that more than a week has passed "Now the chances are very low."

A 2007 report, recertified in early 2016, found that an earthquake of 6.0 or greater would result in building failure.

San Bernardino City Manager Mark Scott said the city was just trying to be careful.

"I think our whole point here was to be cautious with the public and with our employees in a building we know to be seismically unsafe."