One year ago today!
Last year's quake damaged local church, school
Alexandria parish and Annandale school recall broken crucifix, building cracks
At 1:51 p.m. one year ago today, a 5.8-magnitute earthquake struck central Virginia and was felt throughout a large part of the eastern United States. It was the largest earthquake in Virginia since 1897, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Thankfully no deaths and only minor injuries were reported, but many structures were damaged, including the Washington Monument, which — according to the National Park Service — may remain closed for repairs until 2014.
In the Arlington Diocese, St. Mary Church in Alexandria and St. Ambrose School in Annandale suffered damage from the quake.
Asbestos in the ceiling tiles at St. Ambrose School were disrupted and piles of asbestos dust could be seen on the floor, said Principal Barbara Dalmut. The toxic mineral fiber is safe when undisturbed, but after the earthquake it had to be completely removed. “It all turned out well, though,” said Dalmut, as the school received all new ceilings and light fixtures. “Now the school has a facelift and we feel very blessed.”
At St. Mary, the quake caused damage to the bell tower, an interior wall and a stained-glass window, and one of Jesus’ arms on the crucifix was broken off entirely. According to Father Dennis W. Kleinmann, pastor, the wall was fixed soon after the initial damage and the crucifix and window were ready by Easter. The 3-inch crack in the bell tower was discovered immediately, but some 25 other cracks were found later, said Father Kleinmann. The final repairs to the tower were finished about a month ago.
Father Kleinmann said there were also some issues at the school that they were not aware of initially. There were no safety or structural problems, but cracks were found at the end of the last school year and are being repaired.
What were you doing on the day of the quake? Was your office evacuated? Could you feel it? Did your home suffer any damage? We’d love to hear your story of the East Coast’s “Big One.”