Earth­quake rocks cen­tral Ok­la­homa

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

A sharp earth­quake cen­tered near one of the world’s key oil hubs Sun­day night trig­gered fears that the mag­ni­tude 5.0 tem­blor might have dam­aged key in­fra­struc­ture in ad­di­tion to caus­ing what po­lice de­scribed as “quite a bit of dam­age” in the Ok­la­homa prairie town of Cush­ing. City Man­ager Steve Spears said a few mi­nor in­juries were re­ported and ques­tioned whether some of the com­mu­nity’s cen­tury-old build­ings might be un­safe. Po­lice cor­doned off older parts of the town to keep away gawk­ers.

“Stay out of the area,” Spears told res­i­dents dur­ing a late-night news con­fer­ence. Emer­gency of­fi­cials evac­u­ated an as­sisted liv­ing cen­ter cater­ing to the el­derly in Cush­ing. As­sis­tant City Man­ager Jeremy Fra­zier said that while dam­age was re­ported at the Ci­mar­ron Tower af­ter the quake, no in­juries were re­ported among the home’s res­i­dents. It wasn’t im­me­di­ately known how many peo­ple lived at the build­ing in down­town Cush­ing. Tulsa tele­vi­sion sta­tion KOTV said some of those taken from the home were moved to the Cush­ing Youth Cen­ter.

Fra­zier said the tem­blor caused the most dam­age in and around Cush­ing’s cen­tury-old down­town. A num­ber of brick fa­cades had col­lapsed, and win­dow panes in sev­eral build­ings shat­tered. Fra­zier said city lead­ers could do a bet­ter as­sess­ment af­ter sun-up. Cindy Roe, 50, has lived in Cush­ing all her life and said she’s never felt any­thing like Sun­day’s quake. “I thought my whole trailer was go­ing to tip over, it was shak­ing it so bad,” she said. “It was loud and all the lights went out and you could hear things fall­ing on the ground. “It was aw­ful and I don’t want to have an­other one.”

Me­gan Gustafson and Jonathan Gille­spie were work­ing a shift at a McDon­ald’s in Cush­ing when the quake hit. “It felt like a train was go­ing right through the build­ing, ac­tu­ally,” Gustafson, 17, said Sun­day night as she and her co-work­ers stood be­hind a po­lice bar­ri­cade down­town, look­ing for dam­age. “I kind of freaked out and was hy­per­ven­ti­lat­ing a bit.” Gille­spie, also 17, de­scribed the build­ing as shak­ing for about 10 sec­onds or so. But he said he wasn’t as alarmed as Gustafson be­cause he lives in an area that has ex­pe­ri­enced mul­ti­ple earth­quakes, es­pe­cially in re­cent years. “I didn’t think it was any­thing new,” he said.

The Ok­la­homa Cor­po­ra­tion Com­mis­sion said it and the Ok­la­homa Ge­o­log­i­cal Sur­vey were in­ves­ti­gat­ing af­ter the quake, which struck at 7:44 p.m. and was felt as far away as Iowa, Illi­nois and Texas. “The OCC’s Pipe­line Safety Depart­ment has been in con­tact with pipe­line op­er­a­tors in the Cush­ing oil stor­age ter­mi­nal un­der state ju­ris­dic­tion and there have been no im­me­di­ate re­ports of any prob­lems,” the com­mis­sion’s spokesman, Matt Skin­ner, said in a state­ment. “The as­sess­ment of the in­fra­struc­ture con­tin­ues.”

As­sis­tant City Man­ager Jeremy Fra­zier said two pipe­line com­pa­nies had re­ported no trou­ble but that the com­mu­nity hadn’t heard from all com­pa­nies. The oil stor­age ter­mi­nal is one of the world’s largest. As of Oct 28, tank farms in the coun­try­side around Cush­ing held 58.5 mil­lion bar­rels of crude oil, ac­cord­ing to data from the US En­ergy In­for­ma­tion Ad­min­is­tra­tion. The com­mu­nity bills it­self as the “Pipe­line Cross­roads of the World.” The Cush­ing Po­lice Depart­ment re­ported “quite a bit of dam­age” in the town of 7,900. Spears said some dam­age was su­per­fi­cial - bricks fall­ing off fa­cades - but that some older build­ings might have dam­aged foun­da­tions that would be dif­fi­cult to as­sess un­til day­light.

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