Shaken and stirred

A 5.0-magnitude earthquake centred about 60 kilometres north of Ottawasent thousands of people out onto the streets in the city, leaving themshaken, relieved and then a little confused.

A 5.0-magnitude earthquake centred about 60 kilometres north of Ottawa sent thousands of people out onto the streets in the city, leaving them shaken, relieved and then a little confused.

“It felt like a wave underneath me, it was just going up and down,” said Cheryl Sheffer, a Bell employee who works in the Place Bell tower at 160 Elgin St.

When the rumbling began at approximately 1:41 pm, Sheila Kelly, who also works at Place Bell, thought it could a bombing related to the G8 or G20 and was relieved it was “just an earthquake.”

After evacuating the building, Sheffer and the thousands of people waiting on downtown sidewalks seemed at a loss for what to do next. “Nobody knows what to do now. It’s like nobody has a plan for an earthquake,” she said.

Across the street from City Hall, several bricks fell from the chimney of a house containing the offices of Victor Ages Vallance LLP.

Ian Vallance, a family lawyer with the law firm, was literally caught with his pants down, forced to evacuate in his underwear.

“I was getting changed to go to court and was just about to put on my fresh suit and the building started totally shaking, and it was so violent that I just ran out of the office,” he said.

“When we ran out, that’s when all the bricks fell down.”

Someone lent him a suit jacket to cover up, he said.

But not everyone was shaken by the earthquake.

“I’m sorry, but that was awesome, I’ve got to say it,” said Curtis, a bank employee on Sparks Street. “It was like a crescendo so you knew it wasn’t a bomb. You could just feel it in your feet. I love that feeling.”

An hour after the earthquake, Mayor Larry O’Brien, said there were no reports of serious injuries or property damage, but advised building owners and operators to do an assessment based on their own utilities and structural soundness.

 
 
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