City activates earthquake response plan to assess damage

Earthquake (KSN Photo)

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The 5.6 magnitude earthquake in Pawnee, Oklahoma, felt by many people here in Wichita Saturday morning.

Ken Swarm has lived in Wichita for 30 years.

He says he woke up to his bed and dresser shaking around 7 a.m.

Swarm’s video camera above his garage, caught the entire incident on camera.

“You can see it just barely starting here, antenna starting to wiggle,” said Swarm.

Moments later in the video, you could see his car start to shake.

“It got pretty violent for a short period of time and you could just feel it continue on shaking and shaking,” said Swarm.

Swarm spent much of the day inspecting his house, both inside and out, checking for damage.

“There is a crack here, I just now noticed it, it’s just barely visible, but it goes right across here,” said Swarm.

While there are no official reports of damages in Wichita, the earthquake was large enough compared to previous quakes that the city jumped into action.

Alan King, the Director of Public Works and Utilities for the city, says they initiated their earthquake response plan about 30 minutes after the earthquake hit.

He says they sent out about a dozen people to inspect several areas for damage.

“We look at bridges, we look at streets, overpasses, we look at water mains, sewer mains, pump stations, treatment plants and facilities buildings,” said King.

Another point of interest, King say, was the City Hall building.

King says they inspected the buildings elevators, looked for leaks in the plumbing and to see if light panels were loose.

He says some of their efforts were concentrated on the 14th floor, the top floor in the building where the HVAC units are located.

Right now, King says their doesn’t appear to be any major damage.

“So far, the preliminary results show there isn’t much in the way of significant damage, we have a few cracks in windows, a few cracks in non-structural walls,” said King.

King says some crews have wrapped up their initial assessments, others will continue to do inspections throughout the holiday weekend.

The hope, King says, is they will have a report of all the damage by Tuesday.

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