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Earthquake shakes Puget Sound area

Epicenter was seven miles northeast of Duvall

quake damage

Alana McCoy of McCoy's Mercantile of Duvall inspects approximately $500 worth of damage which occurred during last week's earthquake. Several items in the glass case also fell during the tremor.
Photo by Lisa Allen/Woodinville Weekly.

Duvall earthquake by Jeff Switzer & Lisa Allen
The earthquake that rocked the Puget Sound area May 2 at 9:04 p.m. was felt as far away as Portland, Bellingham and Whidbey Island. But it was centered just seven miles northeast of Duvall, and residents in the Valley and Woodinville--near the quake's epicenter--were more shaken than others.
   The 5.4 magnitude quake lasted about 20 seconds, but was followed by several aftershocks that were felt into the weekend.
   One injury was reported in Duvall, where a 31-year-old woman was treated after injuring her arm.
   Duvall Deputy Fire Chief Bud Backer said the department didn't find any structural damage but felt the jolt.
   "There was a pretty loud bang followed by a long rumble, like when there's a thunder cell overhead," Backer said. "I'm not really familiar with earthquakes and I didn't realize what was happening until a vase fell off a shelf and broke."
   Duvall Fire responded to a call to check on a propane tank, which hadn't been damaged. There were no reported natural gas leaks in the area. Immediately following the quake many telephone lines were inoperable, however.
   Several power outages occurred in the Woodinville and Duvall areas, lasting for several hours, and significant spillage and breakage was reported from Duvall area businesses and homes.
   Backer said the most eventful thing that happened as a result of the earthquake was that news helicopters circled the area until midnight. "Everything pretty much rode it out real well," he said.

Woodinville City Hall remains intact
   Within 20 minutes of the quake, Woodinville Planning Director and Emergency Official Ray Sturtz and Officer Kent Baxter were at City Hall coordinating efforts to assess damage within and around the city. The difference between this quake and the one on Jan. 28, 1995 has been described as "shimmying" as opposed to "rolling."
   Concerns here have revolved around whether the Old Woodinville Schoolhouse, which has been documented as a seismologist's nightmare, would remain intact in an earthquake. But the 1936 structure rode it out with no visible structural damage as of last week.
   Albertson's and Stock Market each had minimal messes to clean up. "The most damage was at the Chamber of Commerce," Sturtz said. "Several pictures came off the wall and the glass broke."
   Sturtz recommended that people inspect their foundations, chimneys, and skylights for cracks, as some older skylights aren't made out of safety glass and could be hazardous.

Aftershocks more severe in Duvall area
   Duvall residents reported feeling several significant aftershocks immediately following the quake, with smaller aftershocks continuing on into the weekend.
   Several residents who live east of Duvall near the epicenter of the quake said the most unusual aspect of the temblor was the noise that accompanied it. Flo Wandler, who lives just east of town, reported it sounded like a truck hitting a house.
   Wandler, who works at the Duvall Texaco station in the mornings, said the night employee, Patty Shively, had been hit on the head with items stacked on a shelf overhead. Shively was not injured, she said.
   Karen Tipton, who lives farther out of town, said, "It sounded like a D-8 Cat driving by my house. It was a loud rumbling sound." She immediately dived under a table and stayed there with her son through the quake and for several aftershocks. "The house shook a lot," she said.
   Her husband and two other sons had been at the Stillwater Church for a meeting, and when they returned home, they said the screens on the church windows had popped out.
   "This quake really woke me up," she said. "I'm going to start getting prepared for the next one."
   Alana McCoy, owner of McCoy's Mercantile on Duvall's Main Street, reported about $500 worth of damage from items falling off shelves.
   "Because we are in a remodeling stage, there were a lot of things that were pushed back or laid flat; that helped cut down on breakage," she said.
   McCoy added that one of the deck pilings had been "kicked out" during the quake and there was a crack in the ceiling of the cafe next door.
   Country Collections, an antique store adjacent to McCoy's Mercantile, also suffered some breakage of glass objects that fell during the quake. Diane Balice, who works at Country Collections but lives in Monroe, said the power and phone went out at the time of the quake.
   "Things were crashing in the dark, but the most amazing thing was a glass of water that had been full didn't move, but was half empty when the shaking stopped," she said.
   Duvall Police secretary Helen Lashway was having dinner with a friend near the epicenter when the quake hit. "A clock fell off the wall and zinged past my face," she said.
   Her friend, who operates the liquor store in Duvall, went to the store to check for damage. "They didn't lose a bottle," Lashway said.
   Carnation City Hall, which had been damaged in previous quakes, came through unscathed, according to City Administrator Don Morrison. "Repairs had been completed which included extra support to walls with beams and braces," he said.
   King County Road Services Division crews found minor damage to the handrail on the Woodinville-Duvall Bridge. Crews performed temporary repairs to the handrail last Friday to ensure its safety.
   There was some concern regarding the integrity of the Tolt dam after the quake, but inspection revealed that it remains intact and undamaged. Immediately following the quake many telephone lines were inoperable.
   Unified commands composed of local fire department and local government respond to emergencies by setting up their local EOC (Emergency Operations Center). Crews composed of fire personnel, city inspectors, and personnel went out to schools, businesses, churches, and other buildings to assess structural damage. Emergency preparedness crews went to the local emergency operations centers to meet any additional calls about the earthquake.
   Those concerned about earthquake preparedness are urged to contact local fire district offices and city or county offices: in Woodinville, City Hall, 489-2700, and Woodinville Fire and Life Safety District, 483-2131.