Y2K ... Ten Years after the Paranoia

FRESNO, Calif. At gas stations and grocery stores, the Y2K frenzy hit Fresno and the rest of the Valley.

"We've got a small stockpile," said John Riding, back in December 1999. "A little bit of water, a little bit of extra food for a couple days, just like you would for any kind of disaster."

Generators, batteries and bottled water flew off the shelves as people prepared for a possible doomsday without electricity or water. Even kids sensed that everything was about to change. "I think they just won't make computers no more," said Linsey Barnett at the age of 7.

As 2009 came to a close, a computer helped us track down the 17-year-old on MySpace. Back in 1999, computers underwent a process called remediation, getting prepared for the 21st century at a cost of $20 billion.

Fresno's Police Chief was Ed Winchester and he told Action News the city spent big on police presence, just in case. "On a normal New Year's Eve, we have about 120 officers on the streets," Winchester said in 1999. "This year we will have 430 officers."

And then, nothing happened. Police made just four DUI arrests, PG&E kept the power on, and there were no ill effects from the dawn of a new century.

The most excitement came from Community Hospital, where the delivery room went crazy. "Y2K rolled around, and three minutes later, everything was working," said Dr. Tejinder Sandu, after delivering the Valley's Millennium Baby. "Lights were working and a very healthy baby came out."

Even though the catastrophic global crash never materialized as we crossed into the new millennium, in Fresno, a crash could still take you back to Y2K.

Y2K Auto Body Repair opened here in the year 2000. But the repair shop isn't the only constant over these ten years. Police are still using the same computer system they installed for Y2K. Angelo Stalis is still forecasting the weather. And people still want to party like it's 1999.

Copyright © 2021 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.