MEEKER — A 4.7-magnitude earthquake that hit Monday night near Prague caused more trouble for Lincoln County homeowners whose properties already sustained damage from two previous strong quakes over the weekend.
Authorities said the
Lincoln County Emergency Manager Joey Wakefield said his office has received reports of 94 homes damaged due to the recent earthquakes. He said Monday night's quake caused cracks in walls and knocked down brick walls that had separated from houses in earlier tremors. “Some people out there are just devastated,” Wakefield said. “We have damages coming up through the county, but the most concentrated area seems to be there near the epicenter.”
Walls on a warehouse were damaged and another abandoned structure was damaged Monday night, officials said.
The latest reported quake had a magnitude of 3.6, reported about 1 p.m. Tuesday near Sparks. No damage was immediately reported as a result of that quake.
Since the earthquakes began, Wakefield said he has slept six hours in three days because he's been visiting damaged homes. The only business damaged in the area was a home-based business, he said.
Monday night's quake brought down ceiling tiles and the metal framework in school classrooms in Meeker when the 8:47 p.m. earthquake rattled the town, Fire Chief Robert Ballard said.
Ballard was in a business meeting in Meeker City Hall when the tables moved and the building shook Monday night. City hall and two other structures were damaged there.
“You never know where the next one is going to be,” Ballard said. “We're bracing ourselves the best we can to protect our infrastructure.”
Police responded to Meeker High School after Monday night's quake and noticed tiles hanging from the ceiling. Classes were canceled Tuesday.
District school Superintendent Rita Palmer said she came to the school and took a walk through the building. Inside, she said they found ceiling tiles had fallen in classrooms. Insulation and metal poles also had fallen.
“We had to buy new ceiling tiles and salvaged what we could,” Palmer said.
Overall, the quake rattled tiles and insulation in five classrooms, the library, auditorium and cafeteria. Palmer said a few classrooms in Meeker Elementary School were also damaged and repaired.
She said teachers came to school about 10 a.m. Tuesday to help clean. During their lunch break, they discussed how they would handle future earthquakes and drills.
“If it happened while we were in our classroom, we would have our kids get under their desks and cover their heads with their hands,” she said. “We're just going to keep them as safe as we possibly can. We just hope (the earthquakes) go away.”