San Franciscans remember 1906 earthquake 118 years later

On April 18, 1906, San Franciscans were awoken at 5:11 a.m. by what would become the deadliest earthquake in U.S. history.

On Thursday, 118 years later, residents of the city and first responders remembered those who lost their lives and the event that altered the future of the city.

Residents and politicians, like former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, placed a wreath on Lotta’s Fountain on Market Street, one of the last remaining landmarks from before the earthquake.

An event organizer read a timeline of events starting at 5:11 am when the initial quake struck. It was an estimated 7.9 magnitude that lasted anywhere from 45 to 60 seconds.

It destroyed more than 80% of the city and more than 3,000 people died.

Twenty six aftershocks shook the city and fires burned for 74 hours in the days following the initial earthquake.

Now, people say it's a reminder of just how resilient the city is.

"It reminds us how San Francisco is able to rise from the literal ashes," said San Francisco district 4 Supervisor Joel Engarido. "We need hope to get us through doom loops and all the inevitable changes in our city that shake us from our comfort zones."

At 6 a.m., after speakers finished on Market Street, organizers headed up to Dolores Park to a gold fire hydrant. 

It was the only hydrant in the city that didn't run dry in 1906 and saved the Mission District from destruction. 

On Thursday, one spray at a time, it was given a fresh coat of gold. 

As they honored the past, people also took time to think about the future and think about the next time a big earthquake strikes. 

Mary Elen Carroll said it's important to have all the necessary items you or your family need to survive, such as back-up batteries, solar chargers, and medication for you and your pets.