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Exercise 3-3.3
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Exercises in Structuring News Stories > Writing an inverted-pyramid story: "Earthquake"


Write a 300-word inverted-pyramid story based on the following set of facts. Assume the story is for Tuesday morning's paper.
  • An earthquake rocked the San Francisco Bay Area on Monday morning. The quake struck at 8:12 a.m. PDT.

  • A building housing McHenry's Auto Supply at 2342 Plum St. partially collapsed, killing two people and injuring six others, according to Jennifer Vu, a public information officer from the Hayward Fire Department. Names of the dead are being withheld pending notification of families, Vu said.

  • Hayward resident Mike Beamer, whose apartment is across the street from McHenry's, said he felt a rolling motion that lasted for about 30 seconds, with a big jolt coming in the middle. "I was eating my breakfast and the room started rolling. I dove under the table just as I heard an explosion outside and a chunk of cement flew through my kitchen window. That's when the screaming started across the street."

  • Hayward firefighters used ropes to stabilize the auto supply shop, conducted a search of the building and capped a gas line after detecting a gas leak at the site.

  • The epicenter of the earthquake, which had a magnitude of 6.4 on the Richter scale, was under the Hayward Hills, according to Penny Gertz, a scientist from the U.S. Geological Survey in Menlo Park. Gertz called the quake "a strong one" and said it occurred on the Hayward Fault, which runs under the hills.

  • Twenty-one fire personnel, 12 police and five American Red Cross workers responded to the building collapse, with some arriving within four minutes of the quake, Vu said.

  • Three of the six people injured were hurt seriously enough to require hospitalization and were transported to Hayward General Hospital, according to Vu. She added that no other serious injuries have been reported in Hayward.

  • People as far south as Los Angeles and as far north as Redding felt the quake, Gertz said.

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