Buildings damaged in IL quake

Predawn Friday quake felt across wide area, scattered damage reported but no injuries


"It was the most frightening thing Ive ever lived through"

—Janet Will

Being shaken from their beds is not the typical way most Midwest residents wake up, but Friday morning’s earthquake was anything but typical.

Janet Will was in bed around 4:30 a.m., and suddenly her ranch home started to shake. And it shook for 40-50 seconds.

“It was the most frightening thing I’ve ever lived through,” she said.

Will, who works in the Wabash County courthouse, looked back on the earthquake that shook southeastern Illinois Friday morning with curiosity a few hours after it happened.

By then the sun had come up after the 5.2 quake struck during the morning’s final hours of darkness in this sparsely populated county of a little more than 12,000 residents.

“I knew it wasn’t a storm because thunder doesn’t rumble that long, “she said. “I would have liked to have been outside to have seen the waves in the earth.”

Wills’ husband, Daniel, a construction worker, was sitting in his truck in near Indianapolis, where he’s helping build a new Honda plant. He felt it and when he called her he said it felt like someone was jumping up and down on his rear bumper.

About five hours after the quake, which occurred within the Wabash Valley fault zone and was felt in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and other parts of the Midwest, a temblor shook Terre Haute, Indiana, before noon.

The original quake struck about 10 miles southwest of Allendale, between Bone Gap and Bellmont. No injuries have been reported, said Ross Madden, the emergency management coordinator for Wabash County.

Madden, who lives in Bellmont, said the most damage reported thus far includes a damaged apartment building in Mt. Carmel, about 10 miles east of the epicenter. The building was built in 1904, and he said it may be demolished.

He said four people living there are likely to have found a place to stay with family and friends. A trailer home with a family of four, he said, was also knocked off its foundation. That family, he said, has also found other housing.

Madden said other structural damage was recorded in the county such as cracked chimneys and chimneys that have pulled away from their structures.

Madden said he was stunned by the length of the quake even though it lasted less than a minute.

“We live close to railroad tracks, and we thought a train was derailing,” he said.

Wabash County has been hit by similar quakes about every 20 years since the late 1960s, said Tim Larson, a geophysicist with the Illinois Geological Survey, based at University of Illinois at Champaign.

“It seems to be stabilizing at 5.2,” said Larson, of Friday’s quake.

A quake in 1987 measured 5.1 and a quake in 1968, after some revisions, measured 5.2-5.5 on the Richter Scale.

Kevin Cox, the president of Indiana VOAD, said only minor damage occurred in the southern part of the state. Bridges, he said, are being inspected throughout the state for any damages from the quake.

“Nothing significant has been reported,” he said.

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