Oklahoma residents share earthquake experiences

Oklahomans Joe and Mary Reneau and Melissa Dapper share their stories about earthquakes.
BY TIFFANY GIBSON and MATT DINGER tgibson@opubco.com Published: November 7, 2011
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Joe and Mary Reneau were getting ready for bed shortly before 11 p.m. Saturday when they heard a loud boom and their whole house began shaking.

Their Lincoln County home was near the epicenter of the state's strongest earthquake recorded to date, a 5.6 magnitude temblor that was felt as far away as Wisconsin.

Mary Reneau, 68, said the house began shaking so much they had to hold on to objects in their bedroom to keep them from falling over. Joe Reneau, 75, said dust went flying everywhere, and they were hoping the house wouldn't collapse on top of them.

“This house shook, rattled and rolled,” he said.

Earlier Saturday, a 4.7 magnitude earthquake centered in the same area broke some of the Reneaus' dishes and sentimental keepsakes. Now, they've got much bigger problems.

Debris is covering their living room floor from where their chimney collapsed onto the roof Saturday night. A crane came out to their home near Sparks and removed the chimney Sunday, so it wouldn't cause any more damage, Joe Reneau said.

The couple spent the day trying to move furniture and salvage anything in the living room. Friends and family stopped by to help, including some of the people from their church.

“The second one (earthquake), it literally shook this house to its foundation,” Joe Reneau said.

‘Moment of despair'

Melissa Dapper was at a friend's house when it started shaking Saturday night.

“We were sitting there and everything started rocking. It took me right back to that moment of despair,” she said.

Dapper and her family were living in Tokyo when the magnitude 8.1 earthquake struck Japan in March. Her husband, Blain, took a job with a Japanese airline and the family moved to the city in August 2010. She had just gotten a massage, picked up her 5-year-old daughter, Dakota, from school and returned to their apartment on the 25th floor of a 40-story apartment building in the heart of Tokyo when the quake hit.



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