Earthquake rattles Chicago-area residents

April 17, 2008 10:00:00 PM PDT
An earthquake in southern Illinois woke many people in the Chicago area early Friday morning. At 4:37 a.m., the U.S. Geological Survey reported a 5.2-magnitude earthquake in West Salem, Ill. After the quake, Chicago's 911 call center experienced an immediate spike in calls from people reporting tremors.

"For the most part, people are reporting they felt movement and some items vibrated on shelves, and some ceiling fixtures could be seen moving," Chicago Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford said.

The earthquake hit while most Chicagoans were sleeping.

"I felt a real bad shake, so I thought someone was trying to break into my apartment, or was it really windy outside? But when I didn't hear any wind, I thought maybe this was an earthquake," said Catherine Clark.

Residents living in high rises were likely to have felt the tremor more acutely than others. Riccardo Mecchi was staying on the 28th floor of the Marriott Hotel in Chicago.

"I received a phone call from Japan. I was just going back to sleep. All of a sudden, I felt an earthquake, and I live in Taipei where we have earthquakes all the time. I knew immediately what it was," said Mecchi.

Then there were those who just slept through the whole thing.

"My husband got up, he felt the earthquake. He made a note, he wrote himself a note, dated it and everything [that] he thought he felt an earthquake, so I wouldn't think he was crazy," said Susan Callozzo, who slept through it.

"I woke up thirsty this morning, and my mother informed me there was an earthquake. It was kind of, very frightening. You never think about something like that happening in this city at all," said Candace Harris.

Marvin Martin lives on the seventh floor of an Evanston mid-rise building. He is one of quite a few people in the north suburb who felt tremors early Friday morning.

"I couldn't figure out what it was. Was it a big wind, an earthquake, was it something super natural?" said Martin.

"I felt something but I was still half asleep. It didn't quite register on what it was. I live in graduate housing. So there is usually unusual things happening around there anyway," said Jennifer Tom.

Kelly Morgan said she has experienced an earthquake before, so she knew what to expect.

"I woke right up, felt the house shaking. I jumped out of bed to see if it was just a wind storm. I was sleeping on the top floor and thought maybe the house was shaking with the wind. The trees were perfectly still. I knew for sure it was an earthquake," said Morgan.

Despite the fact that people as far away as Georgia and Michigan felt the quake, not everyone who lives considerably closer to the quake felt it.

"You think California when you hear these kinds of things, not Chicago or Evanston. So I was definitely surprised when I woke up this morning. I think I'm a hard sleeper, so I didn't feel anything," said Tracey Gibson-Jackson, Chicago resident.

A middle school teacher who was awakened by the quake said she planned to use it as a learning experience for her students.

"Totally changed my perspective on where we can have earthquakes. I didn't know it was possible here," said teacher Laura Henselmeier.

No one was injured and there were no reports of significant structural damage to area buildings.

Sun-Times News Group Wire contributed to this report. All rights reserved.


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