Where Were You During the Quake of 2011?
Locals share their stories of the great 2011 tremor.
Just like the shot heard around the world, the Virginia earthquake resonated around the region as the tremors and shakes were felt up and down the east coast. People all around Fredericksburg had different stories to tell as they recovered from the quake.
“I was under my desk in two seconds flat!” said Joel Gillespie, who works at NSWC Dahlgren. “Diving under my desk was what I learned in school, but I guess that’s more for a tornado.”
The base was evacuated shortly after the earthquake to ensure that there was no significant structural damage. Gillespie reported that other workers dove under desks or ran outside once the earthquake continued for more than a couple of seconds.
Local resident Ellen Stodola was at Regal Cinemas in Central Park when the tremors began.
“At first we thought the special effects from the theatre next door were just really intense,” she relates, “but then we realized it was something more when the entire theatre began to shake.” Stodola was enjoying “The Help” when the quake started, and the theatre paused the movie once the magnitude of the earthquake was realized. Many patrons requested a refund for the movie and left, while others decided to brave the chance of severe aftershocks and stay to watch the rest of the film.
The senior apartment complex, Madonna House, took extra precautions during and after the earthquake, moving residents outside for about an hour after the tremors.
“I never thought I would die in a pile of rubble,” joked one resident after being caught on her balcony during the earthquake. She made it safely outside, but was shaken up nonetheless.
Kelsey French was working at Dawning Point, a local daycare, yesterday afternoon. The children’s naps were suddenly interrupted when the ground began to shake, although two kids, a brother and sister, slept through the entire thing.
“Their parents are sure to make fun of them for that for the rest of their lives,” said French. “Two kids that can actually sleep through an earthquake.”
Another local resident, Laura Higgins, lived in California for many years, but reports she had never felt an earthquake this bad. A receptionist at a local doctor’s office, Higgins, with several other co-workers and patients herded into a bathroom on the inside of the building, while the walls shook around them.
“On second thought, I should have just ran outside,” she said. “I’ll have to remember that for next time.”
Let's just hope there's a long time until that "next time."