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In the wake of the October 17, 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake, Caltrans commissioned an oral history project to document the personal and professional experiences of Caltrans employees who worked to restore the State's damaged transportation system. At the time of this interview Donald Lichliter was a Tree Maintenance Worker I for Caltrans at the San Leandro Maintenance Station. When the Loma Prieta earthquake happened, he was driving home to Modesto and didn‚Äôt feel it. He was told by his wife that there had been an earthquake and he saw on the television the damage done to the Bay Bridge and the Cypress Structure. Litchliter seeing the seriousness of the situation drove back to San Leandro Maintenance Yard. Once there he was assigned to go to Cypress Structure to operate the personnel hoist. At the Cypress Structure he assisted an Oakland Fire Department Fire Captain search for survivors. He didn‚Äôt find any, and worked until 8 AM the next day. In the two months that he worked at the Cypress Structure, he was there when they found Buck Helm, putting the paramedics up to assist him. The search and rescue operation continued for two weeks according to Lichliter and besides working with the Oakland Fire Department, he also worked with the Air Force Pararescue. When bodies were found Litchliter had to lift the coroner up to the structure and extract victims. At the end of interview, Lichliter had gone back to his regular assignment however he was appreciative of the Red Cross and private organizations that fed and took care of the first responders and Caltrans employees. Note: Lichliter was killed on the job on July 23, 2009 when he was working beside his truck and struck by a vehicle. He had been an employee for Caltrans for 27 years. In his memory Caltrans reminds drivers to ‚ÄúSlow down and Move over for Workers, It‚Äôs the Law."
Original Audio cassette
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California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) California Revealed is supported by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act, administered in California by the State Librarian.