, Gloucester, MA

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October 17, 2012

Gloucester shakes with 4.6 Maine earthquake

An earthquake, now confirmed with a magnitude of 4.0 on the Richter scale and centered around the town of West Hollis and York County in southwestern Maine, was widely felt across Gloucester Tuesday night, with several reports of a brief shaking and what people descriubed as a low rumble sound.

The quake struck shortly at 7:12 p.m., with signs of it being felt in the offices at the Times and in Gloucester’s Central fire station, among other sites.

At the Times, Advertising Representative Laura Ingalls and Community News Editor Joann Mackenzie both noted a brief rumble and the shaking of computers on desks.

“I thought at first it was a train,” said Mackenzie; the MBTA commuter rail line runs directly behind the Times office on Whittemore Street. “But I looked at my computer, and it was shaking. The train never did that before.”

At Gloucester’s fire headquarters, firefighters’ union chief Phil Bouchie said several firefighters there felt the quake, as well.

“I’m inside an all-brick building, and I know I felt it — we all did,” Bouchie said, adding that the quake’s impact touched off a number of 911 emergency call alarms here.

The U.S. Geological Survey had initially pegged the magnitude of the quake at 4.6 Tuesday night, but downgraded it to 4.0 overnight. The USGS reported the quake as being three feet deep into the earth’s interior.

There have been reports of some damage to homes in Maine around the equake’s epicenter, which sits some 20 miles west of Portland, but there habve been no reports of any injuries there or of damage in Massachusetts and elsewhere. The quake was reportedly felt throughout the six New England states, and in southern Canada.

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