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Low-powered earthquake shakes county

DECATUR — You know that little shake you sometimes feel when an airplane flies past your house and the windows shake? That’s the feeling that hit Beverly Norris, of Decatur, just before 10 a.m. Friday morning.

“All I felt was a little shake,” Norris said. But what she felt wasn’t a plane.

It was an earthquake.

The U.S. Geological Survey said a 3.4 magnitude quake occurred around 9:45 a.m. Friday near Oak Hill. The government says reports of weak to light shaking have come from as far away as the Columbus suburbs, as well as areas in West Virginia and Kentucky.

Eloise Phillips, also of Decatur, said she didn’t know it was a quake at first. Like Norris, she first assumed an airplane made the house shake and the accompanying noise. Her cockatiel, Samson, must have thought otherwise.

“He went crazy. He flew off his perch and tried to get out of the cage,” Phillips said. She didn’t know what had happened until she went to her family’s store, Phillips Grocery.

Only a few miles away, her husband, Bill, who was minding the store at the time of the quake, said he had not felt a thing. But some customers did and shared their experiences.

East of the epicenter, staffers at the Gallia County 911 center thought a vehicle had hit their building and ran outside. Center director Steve Wilson says he figured it must have been an earthquake once he saw people also coming out of other nearby buildings.

Wilson says the 911 center quickly received 170 calls from rattled residents. There were no reports of damage.

The government says reports of weak to light shaking have come from as far away as the Columbus suburbs, as well as areas in West Virginia and Kentucky.

Lawrence County 911 dispatcher Ray Jones said his agency has received no calls about the quake.