Earthquake damages Edgefield Co. courthouse, council chamber

News 12 at First at Five / Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014

EDGEFIELD, S.C. (WRDW) -- It's been the talk of Teresa Culver's hardware store on the Edgefield town square. It's been the talk around town too.

"The chair I was sitting in started shaking. And then, my pictures on the wall were falling over," Culver recalls.

The USGS confirms a 4.1-magnitude earthquake shook 7 miles west of Edgefield with 3 miles in depth on Friday around 10:23 p.m. Two days later, the USGS reported a 3.2 magnitude earthquake at 3:23 p.m. in Edgefield County, just a few miles from the quake on Friday.

"A lot of people took up running. Running outside. Running down the road. What's going on? What in the world's going on? Somebody help me! And I was one of them," says Culver.

Culver's nerves are still rattled a bit.

"In this area of the South, we're not used to that," she says.

On Thursday, a forensic engineer joined Edgefield County Building Director Wayne Collins for a tour. They quickly found out that Friday's quake did cause some damage.

"Mostly cosmetic damage," says Collins. "Some cracking of plaster and some cracking along brick lines."

Edgefield County's historic courthouse is intact and open for business, but the walls inside the stairwell tell a violent story.

"It did some shaking. We had a good bit of shaking, and we're going around from here to other buildings in the county and making sure they're all safe," Collins says.

Nearby, in the council chambers, wooden trimming is cracked and separated. One council desk is a bit higher than the next. There are several cracks in the drywall too. Ultimately, however, it's just minor damage.

"Well, we'll probably go in and do some painting and patching, but it's not anything that's structural," says Collins.

Back in the hardware store, Culver hopes for no more shaking -- no locusts either.

"I panicked so bad, my neighbor actually had to take my phone out of my hand, because I was dropping it!" she says.

The engineer found no damage on the exterior of the courthouse. He'll ultimately be reporting back to the insurance company.

Mike Casey, the county's EMA director, says damage was also found on several churches near the epicenter, including China Grove Baptist Church.

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