Irish lottery winners in San Francisco woken by 6.1 earthquake

Group of 44 National Lottery winners, with partners, friends or family who arrived on Friday on an all-expenses paid trip to the city

Some of the damage caused by the earthquake: Photograph: Reuters

Some of the damage caused by the earthquake: Photograph: Reuters

 

Irish Lottery winners on a trip to San Francisco were woken by the biggest Californian earthquake in 25 years.

Josephine Dunne and her husband Gerry from Carrick-on-Suir, Tipperary are among a group of 44 National Lottery winners, with partners, friends or family who arrived on Friday on an all-expenses paid trip to the city.

“I woke up and thought it was Gerry on his way to the bathroom and the next thought was, ‘there’s somebody else in the room’,” Josephine said yesterday.

They guessed it was a routine Californian tremor. “He looked at the clock, turned on his back and was snoring in two minutes. I lay there with my heart-thumping for a while but everything was quiet.”

The ripple from the 6.0 quake 38 miles away in American Canyon was felt on Nob Hill in San Francisco as a juddering sensation at 3.20am local time.

Michelle Farrar, spokeswoman for the Fairmont Hotel where the winners, press and Lottery team are staying, said only a small number of guests phoned the concierge to ask what had happened.

“I grew up in Tokyo so I’m used to this. It was a longer rolling one. It can feel like a jolt,” she said.

The Fairmont Hotel has its own colourful earthquake history. It was due to open on the day the 1906 quake hit the city in the early hours of April 18th. The structure survived but it was damaged by the fires that rolled through the city and opened a year later after a remodelling by America’s first leading woman architect Julia Morgan.

Winning Streak host, Marty Whelan said he slept through the whole thing. “I’ve always said I’m a deep sleeper and I would sleep through an earthquake, and I’ve just proved it.”