Couple injured during earthquake

The Cauwets’ fireplace shows extensive damage after it crumbled during the May 23 earthquake. Stan Cauwet was buried under the rubble and suffered cuts, bruises and a broken leg.
Dan McDonald

  A Cupertino couple who were visiting their Lake Almanor home suffered injuries when their rock fireplace collapsed during the May 23 earthquake.

  Stan and Marion Cauwet said they were sitting by the fireplace when the magnitude 5.7 quake struck.

  Stan Cauwet, 55, sustained a broken left leg, a sprained right ankle and knee and a gash on his head that required stitches after the fireplace collapsed on top of him.

  Marion Cauwet, 62, who said she was able to dive under a table, escaped with bruises to her back and head.

  Stan Cauwet said he was buried in the rocks and couldn’t move. His brother-in-law Ed Barnett, who was on the other side of the room when the quake hit, was able to move the rocks and free him.

  The Cauwets said they gathered themselves together and put out the fire in what was left of their fireplace before driving to Seneca Hospital for treatment.

  The couple, who lived through the Loma Prieta quake in 1989, said this earthquake felt worse.

  “It was scarier,” Stan Cauwet said. “We were sitting when we felt the initial shock of the earthquake. As soon as we felt the shock we stood up. When we felt the bigger part of the quake, my wife dove under the table. I started to turn and then got hit by the rocks.”

  The Cauwets said they were in the process of remodeling their home, located at 1238 Peninsula Drive at the Lake Almanor County Club.

  “I guess we have more remodeling to do,” Stan Cauwet joked. “Actually, I think it is a good thing that this earthquake happened when it did. We usually stay here in the spring and fall and rent out our house in the summer. It could have been a little kid that got hurt.”

  In addition to the fireplace, the Cauwets’ home sustained damage to the outside. Their chimney collapsed and fell on the deck.

  The injuries suffered by the Cauwets are the only ones reported to date resulting from the earthquake.

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