Earthquake rattles US East Coast
US: Thousands of people across the US East Coast raced frantically
into the streets Tuesday as an earthquake sent shock waves of the kind
last seen almost exactly a decade ago on September 11.
The US eastern seaboard has few larger earthquakes. Many workers were
bewildered — and feared the worst — as their desks swayed violently and
their ceilings and walls shook.
In a region days away from commemorating the trauma of the September
11, 2001 attacks, many immediately suspected terrorism as they raced
down stairways to parks and street corners.
Kacie Marano, who works at a think-tank two blocks away from the
White House, said that she worried that the earthquake could be
something more sinister as the alarms went off and her books fell on the
“Initially, I wasn’t sure it was an earthquake,” she said as she
waited in a downtown park. “When we’re so close to the White House, you
always have to think whether it’s an earthquake or something else.”
Kassandra Meholick, who works several blocks from the US Congress,
said: “I thought for sure the Capitol was bombed.”
Many people in parks asked one another where they were on September
11, 2001. But unlike 10 years ago, the mood was more festive as people
learned that there was little major damage.
Several bars in Washington smelled a business opportunity and
declared earthquake happy hours for residents who did not want to brave
the commuter crowds — or who were suddenly given the afternoon off.
“We have a lot of people who got half the day off and we’ve been busy
all day,” said Lauren Smith, a bartender at The Ugly Mug bar on Capitol
Hill which was offering drink specials.
Many major institutions from schools to the Smithsonian museums
closed for the day, some in hopes of easing pressure on commuters. AFP