PITTSBURGH,None — The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation will inspect bridges across the state after a magnitude-5.8 earthquake centered near Louisa, Va., was felt across in Pittsburgh and across the state.
"We have no reason to believe the Virginia earthquake caused major damage to any state roadways or bridges," said PennDOT Deputy Secretary for Highway Administration Scott Christie. "But to err on the side of caution, we are assessing those bridges that could be susceptible to quake damage."
The U.S. Geological Survey said the earthquake struck just before 2 p.m. on Tuesday and was 3.7 miles deep. The quake sent hundreds of people spilling into the street a block from the White House, with other buildings evacuated in several other cities. The USGS originally reported that the quake measured in at a magnitude 5.9, but has since lowered it to a magnitude 5.8.
The earthquake could be felt at the Channel 11 News studio just off Interstate 279, and several viewers had contacted WPXI saying they, too, felt the quake across the city.
LINK: USGS Intensity Map
No evacuations were ordered in Pittsburgh, but some residents said the rumble caused damage to their homes.
Six-year-old Robert McKnight was riding his bike in the city’s Marshall-Shadeland neighborhood when a chimney fell down as a result of the quake.
"It was like, ‘Whoosh,’ like, the whole house shook," Robert said.
His grandfather, Brian Webber, was nearby on a porch talking to a neighbor when he heard the noise and came running outside.
Robert wasn't hurt, and the couple didn't learn that an earthquake caused the commotion until their landlord told them.
Channel 11 News crews also found damage in Bellevue and Brighton Heights.
"I was sitting in the living room on the phone and all of a sudden the whole building was shaking," said Bellevue resident Anita Brady.
Brady ran across the street to get her neighbor’s house and when the two returned, they found damage to the chimney.
Dave Molinaro, who works downtown, described the scene there.
"I was just doing my job and all of a sudden it just started shaking," said Dave Molinaro, who works on the eighth floor of the Frick Building. "I thought somebody was playing a little prank on me. Obviously it was shaking and the rest of my co-workers felt the same thing."
"I kind of felt that I was getting sick and the woman who works next to me said the same thing, so I looked out the window and you could tell the building was shaking," said downtown Pittsburgh worker Ashley Wiegand.
In Greensburg, several WPXI viewers said they felt similar shaking at their homes and workplaces.
Officials from the Palace Theatre reported that the quake cause several cracks in the walls.
The shaking did not affect operations at Pittsburgh International Airport, according to Channel 11’s news exchange partners at TribLIVE. All roads and tunnels remain open, according to the PennDOT.
The Pittsburgh Steelers evacuated their complex briefly on Pittsburgh’s South Side, but employees have since been allowed to return inside.
"My house just shook here in Polish Hill a few minutes ago," said WPXI Facebook friend Janet Blank-Sollis. "My desk chair started to move like someone was pushing me from behind and the floor was shaking."
"My mom just told me her whole house just shook!," said WPXI Facebook friend Krista Smothers. "I told her she was crazy and didn't get enough sleep lol I guess she's not crazy after all, she's in Irwin."
"I am sitting in my loft on Liberty," said Donna Fisher. "Just had the sensation of someone walking up behind my chair and shaking it violently. I actually turned to see who it was. Nobody there. We have just experienced an earthquake and it was followed by aftershocks."
The earthquake has also caused connection problems for cellphone customers. Verizon Wireless and AT&T said their networks were congested as the quake sent people scrambling for the phones.
Verizon Wireless spokesman Tom Pica said there was no damage to the company's equipment. He said the crush of phone calls made it hard for some customers to get through for about 20 minutes after the quake.
The quake forced evacuations of all the memorials and monuments on the National Mall in Washington and rattled nerves from South Carolina to Martha's Vineyard, the Massachusetts island where President Barack Obama is vacationing.
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