Earthquake Rocks Illinois; Causes Minor Damage in Several States

April 18, 2008

An earthquake that measured 5.2 on the Richter Scale rocked buildings in Chicago and damaged roads in Ohio and Kentucky. The quake hit Friday morning at 4:37 a.m. The epicenter was in the town of West Salem, Ill., which is in the southeastern section of Illinois about 66 miles from Edwardsville, Ind. News accounts say the quake was felt in Indiana, Missouri, Ohio and Kentucky as well as Illinois.

News accounts also said that the Wabash fault line, located north of New Madrid was responsible for the seismic activity. However, the only damage reported at this writing is to an office building in Louisville, Ken. and some minor damage to roads in Ohio, according to ABC-TV and CBS-TV early morning broadcasts. No injuries have been reported.

Bloomington, Ill.-based State Farm Insurance, the largest insurer of homes in Illinois, said it was too early to have numbers on damage from their policyholders.

“We have staff talking to people right now, trying to get an estimate on damage here in Illinois–if there is any,” said corporate spokesperson Kip Diggs. State Farm’s campus is located approximately 180 miles from the epicenter in West Salem.

Independent agent Julie Hearring of Blank’s Insurance Agency LLC in Olney, Ill., said the quake woke her and her husband up with the entire house shaking, and a roaring noise much like a freight train. She and her husband said they did not discover any damage to their home.

As far as damage reports from policyholders in the area, “the phone is ringing non stop” at the Blank’s Agency with the most common claims being cracks in the walls and in the basements. Hearring suspects foundation damage claims may surface in the days ahead.

“We will have a better handle on how serious some of the claims are after engineers have a chance to do inspections,” she said.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency in Chicago did not return a call for comment.

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