Calexico City Council Special Meeting to Update the Community after the 7.2 Earthquake

By Mario Conde

Vic Carrillo and Nene Torres in Downtown Calexico

The Calexico City Council in a special meeting on Tuesday  updated the community on situation after the 7.2 earthquake that hit the valley on Sunday.

Downtown Merchants packed the Council Chambers Tuesday evening to see when  they would be able to re-open their businesses. Downtown Calexico was shut down after the earthquake Sunday night and was later inspected by code enforcement officials to evaluate the state of the buildings. Some buildings were red tagged Monday but after further review they were later yellow tagged, meaning that a structural engineer would have to evaluate the building.

City Manager Victor Carrillo reported that the City will complete all of the inspections by Wednesday afternoon and they will notify each business when  they would be able to reopen for customers by Friday morning. Carrillo said that if a business didn’t get tagged they are cleared to open. Civil Engineer Manuel Yanez said that he met with Victor Carrillo and Armando Villa two weeks ago regarding façade improvements and told them the City should also enforce structural improvements before giving them remodeling permits in order to avoid severe damages in case of a big earthquakes.

The meeting was also attended by Dr. Christina Luna, of the Calexico Unified School District informing the Council that all schools will be closed for one more week to allow review of all the schools. She also stated that Jefferson Elementary School will be closed for the rest of the school years since the institution was badly damaged by the earthquake.

De Anza Hotel has been Red tagged because of severe structural damages. For this reason, about 30 senior citizens were sent to Hollies Hotel in Calexico and other have returned home to their families. Chelsea Corporation will bring a structural engineer from San Diego to evaluate the damages and see how to fix them.

The Calexico Water plant was also damaged by the earthquake reducing the amount of gallons per day distribute to Calexico by 4 million. Water Plant Supervisor Victor Rodriguez said that the repair cost for the water plant on the west side of the City would cost between twelve and fifteen million dollars. The City hopes to get that money from FEMA now that Calexico has declared a State of Emergency.

Rodriguez said that the work repair has to be done by the end of the summer. Many calls to City Hall have been made in the last few hours about a rumor that the City was going to shut down water supply but this was denied by City officials. It is recommended to the public by City officials to save water until further notice.