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The four-story Valencia Street Hotel, on Valencia between 18th and 19th street, collapsed with the earthquake as a result of liquefaction. The liquefaction also broke two major water mains along Valencia Street, and this was responsible for the loss of water to hydrants in the Downtown area.

Up to 200 people were trapped in the building as the first three floors collapsed and sank. Many of those trapped victims drowned as a result of the broken mains.

Rescuers worked for two days to remove victims from the rubble. They tore much of the hotel apart during rescue operations, but were ultimately driven away by the fire, and any victims left were incinerated.