Earthquake Causes Damage For Historic Pawnee Buildings

Saturday, September 3rd 2016, 10:02 pm
By: News 9

Near the epicenter of Saturday morning’s 5.6-magnitude earthquake, Pawnee, Oklahoma, residents felt a big shake up. Many residents said this is the largest earthquake they’ve felt in their city.  

Shortly after 7 a.m. Saturday, the earth shook and a building built in 1902 faced a lot of damage after the tremor. On 6th and Harrison, heavy sandstone fell from the second floor of the building.  

“This one here is over 100 years old. I just hate to see it falling apart like that now,” said Tim Jim, a 19-year Pawnee resident.

Neighbors said it is the original sandstone that was shattered in pieces on the sidewalk.

Crews worked to clean it up quickly, but continued to rope off the area in case of aftershocks if more were to fall.

Abigail Brock, 16, has lived in Pawnee all her life. She said this is the first earthquake she has ever felt, as it jolted her out of bed.

“Just to see the picture of White’s Foodliner,” she said. 

The only grocery store in town was scrambling to put items back on the shelf so they could open for the day.

Over in Pawnee Nation, executive director Andrew Knifechief said the President, on behalf of the Business Council, has declared a state of emergency for Pawnee Nation.

“It’s hard to see on the outside, but inside the buildings there is substantial damage. There are cracks along the walls, some beams,” Knifechief said.

Knifechief said they had to evacuate everyone out of the area, as the buildings were unstable to be in. They are still assessing the damage on these buildings that date back to the 1920s and 1930s.

He said these buildings were made to withstand Oklahoma weather, but not earthquakes.

“It’s just a shame that we might have to leave these spaces because of the damage,” he said.

The Pawnee County Sheriff’s Department said one man was injured while he was trying to protect his child during the earthquake. A brick fell on him. He was sent to the hospital and is expected to be OK.

Gov. Mary Fallin later declared a state of emergency for Pawnee County due to the 5.6-magnitude earthquake.