Building Damage

August 25, 2011 by  
Filed under General Information, Masonry, Non-structural, Structural

From: “5.9-Magnitude Earthquake Strikes East Coast”, New York Times, Katharine Q. Seelye

In Mineral, Va., a town about of about 500 people located four miles from the quake’s center, residents reported extensive damage to items inside homes. China shattered and pictures fell off walls.

From: “5.8 quake hits Va.; Felt along U.S. East Coast” , AP

At Reagan National Airport outside Washington, ceiling tiles fell during a few seconds of shaking.

From: “Earthquake reported along the East Coast”, Washington Post

About 60 percent of the suspended ceiling tiles at the Potomac Library in Montgomery County caved in, chief administrative officer to Timothy L. Firestine said. The library is expected to remain closed for several days for repairs.

A chunk of masonry fell off the east wall of the central, three-story section of Alexandria City hall, right above the polling place. Bricks fell onto an adjoining roof. The missing masonry measures about 3 to 4 feet vertically, 8 or 9 feet horizontally, right below the gutter line. City hall was been evacuated and voting in the Virginia primary election was suspended for the rest of the day.

DC Fire and EMS reported on Twitter that the Old Soldier’s Home at 3700 N Capitol Street, NW had sustained structural damage and was being evacuated. Occupants were being moved to other building on the complex.

From: “6 students, 1 teacher injured at Louisa High School”, Richmond Times-Dispatch,  Wesley P. Hester

Structural damage at [Louisa High School] includes cracks in the walls, fallen ceiling tiles, fallen lights and broken glass throughout the building.

From: “Update from Mineral: Residents starting to assess damage”, Richmond Times-Dispatch, Wesley P. Hester

No significant injuries were reported in Louisa County today after the earthquake, but buildings throughout the county suffered major damage.

Two homes collapsed – one was abandoned, and other had no occupants at the time – according to Amanda Reidelbach, a spokeswoman for Louisa.

The roof partially collapsed at Mineral Town Hall. And many other homes were damaged by the 5.8-magnitude quake.

Retired physician Jane Pendleton-Wootton was concerned about the fate of her home, the Pendleton Home. The quake cracked all four chimneys and broke windows throughout the structure, which was built in 1812 and has been in her family for seven generations. “It’s just unbelievable. There’s so much symbolism of our family and our family’s history here, but we’ve just got to get ourselves together andget it fixed,” she said. “It’s such a precious thing to us.”

From: “Roads Closed”., Donnie Johnston 

At least four historic Culpeper buildings, including a church where Gen. Robert E. Lee once worshipped, were seriously damaged in yesterday’s magnitude-5.8 earthquake.

More than a dozen other structures withstood differing degrees of damage–some structural, some cosmetic–in Virginia’s worst earthquake since 1897.

The Sheriff’s Office reported that one person was injured and taken to Culpeper Regional Hospital. Later, the Sheriff’s Office said the local office of the state health department confirmed two minor injuries.

Now, with a number of unstable structures, Culpeper officials are concerned that winds and rain from impending Hurricane Irene, projected to come close to the area by Saturday, may cause more problems.

Perhaps hardest hit was St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church on East Street. Town officials said that the walls of the old sanctuary, constructed in 1821, had buckled and were unstable. It was in this church that Lee and Gen. J.E.B. Stuart worshipped in June of 1863 before the Army of Northern Virginia’s march toward Gettysburg.

Heavy stone ornaments atop a pillar at the church’s gate were shaken to the ground during the violent 30-second quake.

Across the East Street, a chimney from the old Culpeper Baptist Church, built in 1894, came tumbling down into a small alleyway.

Two adjacent structures, Hall of Fame pitcher Eppa Rixey’s birthplace and Culpeper first telephone company building (now a church), were also damaged.

Bricks from a facade atop a building at the corner of Culpeper and East streets were also strewn about the sidewalk.

Perhaps the most significant damage on Main Street was to the old Masonic Lodge Building (Ritz High Hat Restaurant and later Levy’s), which was built before 1890. Wide cracks in the brick facade, both in the front and on the sides, were clearly visible. “That building is scary,” Bossio said.

Part of a ceiling collapsed at Chiusano’s, a small restaurant in the rear of the old Central Hardware building, and officials said that blue sky was visible from inside the structure.

From: “Building inspectors urge caution in quake’s wake”, The Baltimore Sun, Tricia Bishop and Liz F. Kay

Even as they discovered new scars from Tuesday’s earthquake — a collapsed roof in Annapolis, broken glass at Baltimore’s Port Discovery, a crumbled chimney in Catonsville — officials were most concerned about the unseen damage as they prepared to reopen Maryland buildings to the public Wednesday.

Teams of inspectors were deployed throughout the state to assess the structural safety of everything from the airport to the sports stadiums, authorities said. Helicopter pilots conducted aerial surveys, structural engineers searched for fresh foundation cracks and transportation examiners pored over each county’s weaker bridges.

Most jurisdictions reported only minor damage. The most serious appeared to have occurred in northern Howard County, officials said, where a six-unit apartment building shifted and had to be evacuated. A shelter was set up at a local high school to accommodate the displaced.

At least one Harford County high school reported a gas leak, and 23 schools in Baltimore County found light to moderate damage, such as cracks in exterior walls and displaced ceiling tiles.

But a Pasadena high school reported roof and other damage, as did some of Annapolis’ historic buildings, including the structure that houses Peppers tourist shop on Main Street. It appeared to tilt several inches, creating a V-shaped gap between it and its neighbor.

Annapolis officials planned to assess the structural integrity of parking garages Wednesday morning, and said they received about 20 reports of damage, “ranging from falling bricks to cracks in chimneys.”

Most of the immediate damage in the state was centered in Baltimore, officials said, where the concentration of older buildings placed close together made for a vulnerable combination. A chunk of concrete fell from the top of the St. Patrick Roman Catholic Church in Fells Point, glass shattered at the Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter, and a women’s shelter lost some bricks.

About 11 city schools sustained some damage, with cracked bricks and ceilings, authorities said, and another review of buildings was scheduled for Wednesday.

In Highlandtown, the Order of the Sons of Italy building on Gough Street partially collapsed, and a portion of the eastside wall of Henry Reif’s home caved in, displacing the 91-year-old, who said he recently spent $40,000 on home improvements.


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