Prague Family Relives Record Earthquake

Monday, November 5th 2012, 6:23 pm
By: News 9

No Oklahoman has an earthquake story quite like Joe and Mary Reneau.

"The first thing was a horrendous, horrendous boom, as if an airline had crashed in our yard, followed by this tremendous shaking," Joe Reneau recalled. "The glass in the bedroom shattered into hundreds of shards like someone blew it out with a shotgun."

The Reneau's home in Lincoln County sits just 400 yards from the epicenter of Oklahoma's record setting quake from November 5, 2011. The next day I was standing in their living room reporting on this phenomenon. A huge hole filled their ceiling where their chimney crashed down on top of their couch.

"We thought it was going to fall on the floor so we built a containment area around here (couch) to catch it when it dropped, so it wouldn't damage any of our nice walls," Joe said.

"We didn't know they were going to tear them all down," Mary Reneau said.

In fact, the Reneaus had to move out for about seven months. Their home of 25 years stripped down to a roof, slab and two by fours.

I asked them, did they ever consider leaving.

"Well, you know when things are falling down around your ears and it's such a mess and you're overwhelmed with where in the world do I start," Mary said. "Yeah, moving on sounded pretty good. But this has been home for 25 years, so I really couldn't go anywhere else."

They're lucky they invested in earthquake insurance just a few years ago after hearing about the Jones quakes, but having no idea they lived so close to another major fault line.

"It was a lot like buying a lottery ticket," Joe said.

The Reneaus hit the jackpot with a renovated home, reconstructed with steel piers and hurricane straps. Before they even moved back in, a 4 magnitude quake in spring 2012 cracked fresh concrete and brick on their back porch. They chose to leave it like it is.

"It will be good for war stories," Joe said.

The Reneaus say they've felt at least 50 more earthquakes since November 5, 2011, but they're not afraid the big one will hit again.

"I can't live my life like that," Mary said. "I'm just going to ake one day at a time and what happens, happens. We'll deal with it when it happens, if it happens."

A family whose grown comfortable with their frequent home rattling visitors.

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