Los Angeles Times

In California, hundreds of Inland Empire buildings face collapse in major earthquake

As California's fast-growing Inland Empire churn out new housing tracts, the city of Redlands is a throwback to an older, more regal era.

The college town is graced by historic mansions, old orange groves and a vintage downtown that stands in deep contrast to the region's big-box shopping centers and drive-thru restaurants. The town center is defined by century-old buildings filled with children's boutiques, bakeries and cafes.

But danger lurks for these brick buildings: As many as 74 in the city are not retrofitted to withstand major earthquakes, putting the public at risk should the bricks start to topple onto sidewalks, cars and pedestrians.

As many as 640 buildings in more than a dozen Inland Empire cities have been marked as dangerous after decades of warnings, according to a Los Angeles Times analysis of building and safety records. These cities are far behind coastal regions of California, which have retrofitted thousands of buildings after devastating earthquakes exposed how deadly they can be.

The risks are all the more concerning because the Inland Empire is particularly vulnerable to a major earthquake.

Three of the state's most dangerous faults - the San Andreas, the San Jacinto and the Cucamonga - intersect in this region east of

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