Only minimal damage reported in Franklin County after quake

August 23, 2011|By ROXANN MILLER |

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. — A magnitude 5.8 earthquake centered in Virginia Tuesday afternoon sent shock waves to Franklin County and beyond.

It lasted less than 30 seconds, but in that short time the quake rattled dishes, shook the ground and knocked pictures off walls.

"My cabinets were shaking and the floor was moving. It felt like something hit the building," said Nathan Rotz, president of Innernet Inc., of Chambersburg.

His office is on the second floor of Kerrstown Square on Main Street in Chambersburg.

When the tremor hit Franklin County at 1:51 p.m., Rotz searched the Internet for information.

"People were posting on Facebook, and people from New York were posting like crazy. I had friends from everywhere from Maine to North Caroline saying, 'They felt it,' so it's all up and down the East Coast," Rotz said.

Attorney Michael Csonka with the firm of Steidl and Steinberg was shocked by the tremor.

His office is on the first floor of Kerrstown Square in Chambersburg.

"I was on the phone with a law office in Philadelphia, and I was sitting there and all of a sudden I felt the chair moving and I just paused," Csonka said. "I thought I was dizzy or falling over."

But, when he heard, 'Oh my God, the building is shaking,' on the other end of the phone he knew it was an earthquake.

Darlene Carbaugh of Chambersburg has experienced earthquakes before, but not in Franklin County.

She was at a meeting at the Eugene C. Clark Recreation Center on Third Street in Chambersburg when she felt what resembled an earthquake.

"We (Carbaugh and a friend) were sitting there, and I asked, 'Do you think we're having an earthquake?'" said Carbaugh, who was shocked at the magnitude.

A supervisor at Franklin County's 911 center said there was only minimal damage reported throughout the county.

Jessica Walter, a spokeswoman for Summit Health which owns Waynesboro and Chambersburg hospitals, said no patients were affected, and there was no interruption to patient care.

"We have been checking all systems and structures, including Chambersburg Hospital, Waynesboro Hospital, the Summit Health Center, the Summit Keystone Pavilion and the Shippensburg Medical Campus," Walter said.

"So far, no problems have been found," Walter said in an email Tuesday.

"I'm from California," said Kristie Fry, spokeswoman for Penn State Mont Alto in Mont Alto, Pa. "When I saw the window frames moving I knew what it was, and I ran out the front door," she said.

Staff Writer Richard F. Belisle contributed to this story.

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