Councilman LaBonge Proposes Earthquake Building Safety List

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Los Angeles City Council member Tom LaBonge is pushing to create a list of old apartment buildings in danger of collapsing during the next big earthquake.

“Soft story” buildings have apartments on top with a garage below. Officials say in an earthquake, the top stories have the potential to collapse onto the lower floors.

The list would be comprised of structures built before 1978 with at least two stories and five units.

“Los Angeles is earthquake country and it’s been since 1994 since the last quake. Before that, ’71,” LaBonge told KNX 1070’s Jon Baird.

Councilman LaBonge Proposes Earthquake Building Safety List

During the Northridge earthquake, approximately 200 “soft-story” buildings were damaged or destroyed. In one instance, the top floors of one complex crumbled onto the bottom floor, killing 16 people.

In April, a landmark law passed in San Francisco requiring property owners to retrofit about 3,000 “soft-story” buildings to make them safer.

The Apartment Association says if a similar law were to pass in Los Angeles, the city should help building owners pay for the structural improvements.

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