The question being repeated on Boston streets this afternoon: “Was that an earthquake?”
Office workers took to the streets this afternoon after feeling the waves from a 5.9 earthquake centered in Virginia.
“It felt as if I had vertigo. It lasted a few seconds and then it kicked up again lasting a total of 15 seconds or so. We all looked at each other and then the blinds started to sway and the desks and windows began to creak. Then it hit everyone that it was an earthquake. We all went to the stairwells and quickly evacuated the building. A few hundred people evacuated from the building and nearby businesses,” said Brian Adams, a spokesman for the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley.
“It felt like I was on a boat,” said Kristin, 26, who was in the Boston Harbor Hotel during the earthquake. “I’m from California, so I I recognized the feeling right away. But people in my office didn’t know what was going on. I’ve never felt a quake in Boston before though.”
Erin Dillon, 24, who works on Congress Street, said everybody at her work sort of stayed at their desks. She said at first, she thought she was just getting dizzy, but then people started to evacuate from the building.
“I think it points a little bit to the changing weather and global warming issues,” said Dillon. “It would be nice to have some safety measures in place for something like this.”
“I was on the Commuter train from providence when it happened,” said Andy Brunner, 27, who is completing his residency at Massachusetts General Hospital. “It’s not a good city to have a big earthquake in, but I think we can handle the little ripples.”
Boston Police reported receiving high call volume to its 911 center as a result of the shaking. There have been no significant reports of damage or injuries in the area, Boston Police posted on its Twitter feed.
Public Safety officials did respond to 111 Devonshire Street for reports of structural damage, but the scene has since been cleared.
The initial reports were that the Brown Brothers Harriman building at 50 Milk St. had shifted so significantly that it was touching the Moors and Cabot building at 111 Devonshire, but property manager Gary Morris said the buildings have always been that way. Morris said the 11-story building was built in 1911 and the 3/8-inch gap that's always seperated the buildings is still there.
Regardless, people mobbed the scene to take pictures.
There are also reports that air traffic from John F. Kennedy Airport in New York is being diverted to Logan Airport.
Due to tremors felt on its campus, UMass Boston has closed for the remainder of the day, cancelling all activities and classes, according to an announcement on its website.
Stay with Metro for more information and photos as the situation continues to develop.