PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A moderate earthquake hit Virginia Tuesday afternoon and the tremors were felt hundreds of miles away.
The epicenter of the 5.8 magnitude earthquake was about 87 miles outside of Washington, D.C. around 1:51 p.m.
The tremors were felt as far north as Massachusetts and as far west as Cincinnati.
Dozens of viewers called into the KDKA-TV newsroom minutes after the ground shook in the Pittsburgh area.
The Art Institute of Pittsburgh, Point Park University and PPG Place were briefly evacuated. The quake also affected Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s campus.
Ryan Penrose, a junior who was working in Sutton Hall, said it felt like he was on a boat.
“I was sitting at my desk in payroll and the ground started to shake,” he said. “I thought maybe I was just getting dizzy or something.”
For most of the people who left their buildings, it was their first experience with an earthquake.
“I felt a small tremor at first. It was kind of an up and down motion and then the next one was much stronger. It started going side to side, and I knew that wasn’t normal. I could hear the blinds shaking in the other room, and I said, ‘This is an earthquake. We have to get out of here.’ I was actually starting to get dizzy,” Dawn Owen said.
“We felt the building start to sway, and my blinds started to sway back and forth – just could feel everything shaking. We’re on the 24th floor of the Lawyers Building, so it was very evident that something was going on and we all yelled out to each other in the office and decided to evacuate,” Alicia Slade said.
The quake broke up the bingo game at the Dormont Municipal Building. Everyone evacuated from the senior center.
A week before her 90th birthday, Martha Dawson felt her first earthquake.
“I just felt it shake and I really didn’t think much of it and my friend here, she said, ‘Did you feel that?’
“And I said, ‘Yeah – I felt something shake!’”
Across town, David Gillingham felt it on a Port Authority bus.
“I actually thought it was the bus shaking a little bit, but it ended up being an earthquake and I started getting messages on my phone,” he said.
His brother, Tim, felt it in a bookstore.
“It was, you know, creepy, because I never had a earthquake or anything like that experience,” he said.
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