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The Blue & Gray Press | February 26, 2018

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An Account of the Virginia Quake

By PETER WALTERS

All of the RA’s were sitting in the faculty dining room listening to a lecture. I was sitting in the back right portion of the room.
I had Mary McClellan to my left, and to her left was Matt Blaire. The other RA’s in my building were seated to my right. Everything was going according to plan as the lecture went on and then the building started to shake a little bit.
My first thought was that the air conditioning in the basement had somehow shaken loose from it’s base and was causing all of this.
This was soon replaced by the realization that it was definitely an earthquake as the chandeliers and floor began to really shake. This was when most everyone also realized what was really going on. A fair number of the audience rushed to the doors and began to exit the building while a smaller group took cover under the tables.
I opted to remain seated and cover my head and neck as plaster and some metal fixtures fell from the ceiling. One of the metal fixtures struck me on my left shoulder, it didn’t hurt too much and only left a mark for a few minutes but startled me nonetheless.
As the debris fell I witnessed Matt Blaire shield my House Resident Mary from the plaster and fixtures with his own body. This whole ordeal lasted maybe eight to 12 seconds but it felt much longer.
Once the quake had subsided Dean Rucker had everyone exit the building as quickly and as safely as possible. We all filtered out through the nearest exit and regrouped outside of Seaco.
A lot of people seemed pretty shaken up about the whole experience, myself included. It was not exactly something you’d expect to go through on a Tuesday afternoon. The more annoying part of the experience, though, was the lack of communication following the earthquake.
Cell service was far from dependable and getting in touch with my family and friends to make sure everyone was okay was a real pain. I was sure everyone was okay but I wanted to confirm that along with every other person in Fredericksburg, I am sure. It was something that I’ll not forget and probably something that I will never experience again.