Earthquake rattles nerves, buildings

Published 10:15 am Wednesday, August 24, 2011

No injuries, damage locally

The old Carole King song says, “I feel the earth move under my feet” and those lyrics had particular meaning early Tuesday afternoon when a 5.9 magnitude earthquake rattled the Tri-State and much of the eastern part of the United States.

Tremors were felt as far west as Dayton and to the north along Lake Erie.

No damages or injuries were reported in the first minutes after the quake in central Ohio or statewide, said Kelly Blackwell, spokeswoman for the Ohio Emergency Management Agency.

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Locally, the quake sent Ironton City Center employees into the street, briefly.

For people on upper floors of buildings, the quake was an uneasy interruption in their afternoon.

Barbara Carson said she was on the sofa in her 10th floor apartment at Sherman Thompson Towers when the building began to shake.

No one had to tell Carson what was going on; she’s experienced more than one earthquake. But she said this one seemed different to her in that it may have lasted longer.

“When it didn’t quit shaking I started praying, ‘Lord, let us get out of here,’” she said.

Ruth King, who also lives in Sherman Thompson Towers, said she was lying in bed when the shaking started. Sitting outside on a covered patio, she explained, “I came down here for an hour or two because I heard the worst time for aftershocks is within the first hour or two after an earthquake.”

Carson described the experience as “bad,” saying, “The others never scared me. This one did. I think because it lasted so long.”

Ashland, Ky., Fire Department Engineer Evan Allison said the 12-story Skytower office complex between 12th and 13th streets on Bath Avenue was evacuated for a time until the emergency management agency declared the building safe to enter again. He said he had heard other buildings in Ashland were also evacuated for a time but did not know which ones.

The quake was felt sporadically in Columbus. Some visitors to the nearby Statehouse didn’t feel a thing, and nor did residents in the city’s northwestern suburbs a few miles from downtown. But southeast of the city, in Lancaster, people were temporarily evacuated from Fairfield County Municipal Court house.

A few dozen office workers were evacuated from a 13-story downtown Columbus building, but most were back inside in a few minutes. Some on the upper floors reported windows popping and ceiling tiles cracking.

In Sandusky in northwest Ohio, office employees at Cedar Point amusement park felt the quake, but none of the rides had to be shut down, said Robin Innes, a spokesman for the park along Lake Erie in Sandusky.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.