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Lawyers across Virginia react to earthquake

There was whole lot of shakin’ going on in law offices around Virginia at 1:51 p.m.

A 5.8 magnitude earthquake hit then and sent some lawyers and staff scurrying from their offices into the street in many locations.

Most apparently stayed put, however, and there were few reports of damage.

Doug Rucker waited it out on the 24th floor of 1111 E. Main St. in Richmond, although he described the swaying of the building as “pretty amazing” and much stronger than what he recalled from an earlier tremor at the firm’s old digs three blocks away.

He said the firm had received an email that its downtown Fredericksburg office at 904 Princess Anne St. had sustained damage. The building was cleared until a structural engineer could inspect it, he said.

The word today was that the landlord had the building checked out and cleared the attorneys and staff to return to work this morning.

Fredericksburg lawyer Edward Allen said pictures fell off the walls in the downtown eatery where he was having lunch but he saw no structural damage.

Virginia Supreme Court Clerk Trish Harrington still had her earbuds in from a walk and didn’t pick up at first on what was happening in her fifth-floor office. It lasted long enough that it was hard to ignore though. “I could not believe this building could move like it did.”

Some of her colleagues took to the streets for a few minutes, but the there was no general evacuation, she said.

In Roanoke, lawyers from the firm of Gentry, Locke, Rakes & Moore gathered on the sidewalk outside their building. The walls started shaking, partner Matt Broughton said, and he urged other staffers to leave the building. The firm’s offices are on the seventh and eighth floors of the SunTrust Plaza building.

At another Roanoke firm, Woods Rogers, the staff stayed put, despite the wobble. “It shook pretty good up here,” said Brad Fitzgerald, whose office is on the 15th floor of the Wells Fargo Tower.

In Charlottesville, a staff member in MichieHamlett’s offices across from the Albemarle County Courthouse said the occupants fled the building but found no damage when they returned a few minutes later.

The epicenter of the quake was near the town of Louisa, and Toni Seay, a paralegal at the Stephen C. Harris law office, said a lot of chimney tops tumbled to the ground in the rural county seat, where many of the buildings are around a century old.

The courthouse did not appear to be damaged, she said. “Just a lot of things down, things broken, but nobody hurt, fortunately,” Seay said.

One comment

  1. Out here on the frontier of Virginia we had a few chairs move and monitors wiggle. We thought it important the quake was felt this far west, until being informed that it was felt in Memphis and St. Louis. A few of us went outside, but only because the temp was in the 70s and it was such a beautiful day in Bristol.

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