Last Survivor of 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire Dies at 109

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Last Survivor of 1906 San Francisco Earthquake & Fire Dies

San Francisco, CA -- The last known survivor of the 1906 earthquake that hit San Francisco and caused a massive fire has died at the age of 109. 

The earthquake hit a magnitude 7.8 and a Mercalli intensity of XI (extreme).  Shaking could be felt from Eureka on the north coast to Salinas Valley south of San Francisco.  The earthquake caused a fire that lasted for several days.  The fire killed 3,000 people and destroyed 80% of San Francisco.  The fires ignited from ruptured gas mains, causing 30 different fires throughout the city.  The earthquake and fire are considered to be one of the biggest natural disasters in U.S. history.

William A. "Bill" Del Monte died at the age of 109 at his retirement home in Marin County.  Del Monte was three months old when the earthquake struck.  His parents took him by horse drawn buck board with fire on both sides of the street. 

"The common thread I would draw with all of these survivors is they had a unique, dry wry sense of humor as anyone would have at being so rudely tossed out of bed at 5:11am in the morning," said organizer Lee Houskeeper.  "But none could compare to Bill.  He had absolutely the sharpest mind of anybody I've ever known.  A sharp mind, a sharp sense of humor, and he was a complete flirt.  My guess is there are a lot of heart broken nurses out there today." 

 

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