Just after 3 a.m., an earthquake measuring 7.4 on the Richter scale strikes northwestern Turkey, home to one-third of the country’s population and half its industry. The epicenter of the earthquake was Izmit, located 65 miles from Istanbul and on the North Anatolian fault line. The quake came at the worst possible time, when people were at home in their beds, and thousands were killed instantly as their homes collapsed on top of them. Thousands more died of injuries, suffocation, dehydration, or exhaustion as rescue crews scrambled to pull them from the rubble. All told, more than 17,000 people were killed and damages totaled $6.5 billion, making it one of the most devastating earthquakes of the 20th century.