Eyewitness to History: 2011 Virginia earthquake impacts Schuylkill County

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EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU) — The recent devastating earthquake in Haiti was more than 1,500 miles from us.

While they are rare, earthquakes have been felt in northeastern and central Pennsylvania. In our Eyewitness to history, WBRE/WYOU photojournalist Joseph Butash, with help from the I-Team’s Andy Mehalshick travels to Schuylkill County to remember the 2011 earthquake centered in Virginia, but felt here.

10 years ago, August 23, 2011, an earthquake was felt in portions of Northeastern and Central Pennsylvania. Today we take a look back. The earthquake was a wake-up call to many people across our area.

People who may have assumed, incorrectly, that earthquakes just don’t affect Northeastern Pennsylvania. Many people in Mahanoy City, Schuylkill County, still can’t believe it.

“It was scary, very scary. We never heard of it here for years. 65 years, so it’s scary,” Paul Boczkowski of Mahanoy City said.

For the folks at the Mahanoy City Senior Apartments, it was a day they won’t soon forget. The talk that day was about one thing: Where they were when the earthquake struck.

“I was in my bedroom. I was taking a nap. Bed was shaking. Purse was on the door knob shaking. There’s been an earthquake. I was in one before when I was visiting California but I thought I was going crazy,” June Slingluff of Mahanoy City said.

Pat Kechula was living on the ninth floor. She had a hard time getting around. She didn’t know what to think.

“I was sitting at my table. All of a sudden, table started to shake. I thought it was something in the high-rise. Called my daughter, she said it was an earthquake,” Kechula said.

Others figured there wasn’t much they could do about it so, they just waited it out.

“Just a little shaking it wasn’t bad. it wasn’t bad at all. That’s freaky, that’s all,” Pat Horwat of Mahanoy City said.

According to United States Geological Survey, the Virginia earthquake of August 2011 was felt by more people than any other earthquake in U.S. history. It caused as much as $300 million in damage.

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