Infrastructure
8:48 pm
Tue August 23, 2011

Quake Causes Only Minor Damages in Pittsburgh

The 5.8 magnitude earthquake that rocked much of the East Coast today did not cause structural damage to any major local facilities or utility lines, said Allegheny County Emergency Services Acting Chief Alvin Henderson.

Henderson said the extent of the damage reports he's received is several cases where brick facades and chimneys tumbled down in the tremors. He said he's not heard reports of any injuries in the county.

However, Bud Mertz of the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency said there are several reports of damaged bridges and utilities at the state level, along with more severe damage to some buildings.

Neither Allegheny County nor the City of Pittsburgh ordered evacuations for the tremor, the epicenter of which was hundreds of miles away near Mineral, Virginia.

Jim Gavin, brother of Essential Public Radio's Kevin Gavin, lives five miles from the focal point of the quake in Louisa, Virginia.

Jim Gavin said he and his wife, Pauline, were in their kitchen with a friend when he "thought the house was going to fall down … We gathered up the dogs and headed for the basement and hunkered down there."

Jim said his house doesn't have any apparent structural damage, but the quake broke several mirrors, a china closet, and a television set. He said Louisa schools have canceled classes for tomorrow, as tremors were still being registered three hours after the earthquake.