LOS ANGELES (CBS/AP) — More than 1,000 aging buildings in Los Angeles County could be at risk of collapsing during a major earthquake, according to an analysis by the Los Angeles Times.
The newspaper reported Sunday that the buildings, some nearly a century old, are scattered across both wealthy and modest neighborhoods.
The Times says the structures, built of concrete, are susceptible because they do not contain enough steel reinforcing bars to sustain them during the sideways shaking triggered by a large earthquake.
KNX 1070′s Vytas Safronikas reports the paper said a conservative estimate is that 50 of the buildings could be destroyed in a single temblor.
The newspaper says officials have known of the dangers for decades but have failed to order owners to make the buildings safer.
In the event of these buildings collapsing, Caltech’s Tom Heaton told KCAL9′s Melanie Woodrow, “there would be a tremendous loss of life.”
Heaton believes building owners have ignored warnings to reinforce these buildings for years.
According to the report, a solution is likely to be expensive.
“Certainly the building owner’s don’t want this news,” Heaton said, “they would have a major disruption, there would be major expense.”
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who took office July 1, said he is taking the newspaper’s findings seriously.
As the new mayor of Los Angeles, Garcetti said, he wants “to make sure that departments are doing everything they can to ensure the safety of the people of Los Angeles.”
“We’re certainly reviewing the Times report and we’ll be hopefully in the coming days issuing some words about that and what we can do,” Garcetti said Monday. “All of us want to be safe here, all of us live in an earthquake area and it’s not just concrete buildings but fault lines that go through subway lines and everything else.”
(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)