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City aids Napa with building safety inspections

City of Sonoma Plans Examiner Joe Burroughs is one of two City of Sonoma employees who helped with building assessments in quake-ravaged Napa this week.

City of Sonoma Plans Examiner Joe Burroughs is one of two City of Sonoma employees who helped with building assessments in quake-ravaged Napa this week.

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Following the recent earthquake that caused more than an estimated $300 million in structural damage in Napa, the City of Sonoma Building Department sent two-thirds of its staff to the City of Napa for assistance with earthquake safety assessments.

Sonoma Building Inspector Kathy Toohey and Plans Examiner Joe Burroughs, both certified by the California Emergency Management Agency as disaster service worker coordinators, spent three days in Napa assisting safety assessment teams from throughout the state in evaluating damage and posting their findings on more than 630 buildings.

“Given the relatively minor quake damage that occurred in the City of Sonoma, it was important that we help out our neighbors in Napa in responding to this disaster” said Wayne Wirick, Jr., Sonoma Development Services director and building official. Wirick reported that one building in Sonoma has been found to have moderate structural damage and two other buildings have been found to have minor structural damage.

As of the end of the day on Wednesday, Aug. 27, 116 buildings in the City of Napa had been posted with red “Unsafe” placards indicating that the buildings are uninhabitable, and 513 buildings were posted with yellow “Restricted Use” placards indicating that some type of damage was sustained to the buildings due to the quake.

Both Toohey and Burroughs said they were impressed by the quick deployment and dedication of more than 60 safety assessment inspectors from throughout California.

The California Emergency Management Agency administers the California Safety Assessment Program which trains and certifies building safety assessment evaluators and coordinators for disaster response throughout the state.

“The safety assessment program is a valuable resource available to all California communities affected by and trying to recover from a disaster,” said Toohey.