Numerous houses collapsed, causing several fires that took a long time to extinguish (due to the prevalence of shingle or straw roofs and open fireplaces or heated ovens at the time). Considering the strength of the earthquake and the destruction caused, relatively few people were killed because most had remained outside after the foreshock.
A relatively comprehensive picture of the disaster can be pieced together from the 20 or so documents drawn up shortly after the earthquake that have survived to this day. Further numerical data and descriptions of the event stem from 1,356 documents written in the 15th, 16th, 17th or even 18th centuries. Indeed, this period was characterised by a very large number of writings about the earthquake, amounting to a veritable 'Basel seismophilia'.