Updated: 5.8 Earthquake Strikes Northern Virginia
Violent shaking felt in Manassas and Manassas Park and neighboring areas at about 1:50 p.m. Standby for more details.
Violent shaking from a 5.8 Earthquake was felt in Manassas, Manassas Park and neighboring suburbs at 1:51 p.m. today. The epicenter was nine mines from Mineral, VA near Fredricksburg, according to the National Geographical Survey.
The shaking was felt for about 45 seconds in Manassas and Manassas Park.
The only damage reported so far is a tile that fell out of the ceiling at Cougar Elementry School. Manassas Park City Schools Superintendent Dr. Bruce McDade said maintenance teams inspected all buildings in the school divison and all appear to be in good order. No faculty or staff were injured, he added. Officer Jonathan Perok from Prince William County police said that he was not aware of any major incidents that had occurred because of the quake.
Several residents in City Center Apartments in Manassas Park gathered in the hallways for safety following the earthquake. About an hour after the event, a few residents prepared to exit the four-story building out of fear of aftershocks.
Shortly after the event, Manassas Park Fire Marshal Mark Joyner came by the building and asked management if any residents had reported any damage and to call the department if anybody reports smelling gas or detects any other hazard.
Anyone who smells gas in their single-family dwelling or apartment should immediately evacuate, get to a safe place and call the E-911, Joyner said.
Residents can certainly call their gas service providers, but only after they have called emergency officials, Joyner added.
Manassas resident Eileen Graham sent photos in showing how the shaking knocked over a propane tank in her yard, causing it to leak (see photos).
Gainesville resident Kristine Denholm was back-to-school shopping in a Manassas Wal-mart with her three kids when she heard a "loud roar and everything was just shaking."
"I knew it was an earthquake. I huddled the kids and we didn't know what to do. Things were falling off shelves. It was unreal," she said.
Several residents who work in Washington D.C. have been dismissed from work early and are on their way back to Manassas Park, causing significant traffic backups throughout the region.
Virginia Railway Express said trains are running at reduced speeds because of the quake and afternoon service may be delayed. Amtrak has stopped all train movement until tunnels can be inspected, according to officials. The Washington D.C. metrorail is still operational.