Nov. 9--NEW BEDFORD -- The Red Cross is reporting that multiple families have been displaced after their homes were damaged by the earthquake that struck off the Massachusetts coast Sunday morning.
Residents of Crapo Street in the South End of New Bedford have been kept out of their homes as a result of the quake.
Two homes on the corner of Crapo and Nelson Streets experienced the most damage, with crumbled chimneys causing gas lines to be turned off by the fire department. The New Bedford Fire Department reported destruction on the bottom four feet of the chimney stack at 202 Crapo St.
"It shook it good," said John, a resident at 202 Crapo St. who did not want to give his last name "I wanted to check to make sure there were no broken lines in my basement, but I found a broken chimney instead. Next thing I knew, the Red Cross was here and the fire department was called and they started checking the gas lines."
John said he has been at resident at 202 Crapo St. for 10 years. He said three residents in his building have been relocated to a nearby motel, courtesy of vouchers from the Red Cross.
According to the Red Cross, the property manager for the homes is working with the agency to help provide lodging support for the affected residents.
"We will provide comfort and long-term recovery services," they tweeted Sunday afternoon.
The fire department found similar damage at the corner house diagonal from the triple-decker. The resident at 195 Crapo St. Said he lives in the single-family house with his wife and children. They are currently staying at a local hotel while he remains in his home to stand guard.
"The chimney is pretty bad," said the resident who did not want to give his name. "Insurance doesn't cover this damage. I can't cook or take hot showers, I have to go to the hotel to do that."
Tenants at 107 Nelson St. had their gas lines checked to make sure they were working properly. There was no sign of damage from the earthquake. Residents were still in their building as of today.
New Bedford District Fire Chief James Fortin advised the public to check for damage in their own homes.
"If you see any signs of cracking, or certainly crumbling, of your chimney in the basement -- or anywhere in your house -- you should look up on your roof and check out your chimney," Fortin said.
The United States Geological Survey reported the 3.6 magnitude earthquake struck at 9:10 a.m. in an area of Buzzards Bay that is about 6.8 miles south of Dartmouth's Bliss Corner neighborhood.
According to the USGS, the quake struck at a depth of approximately 6.2 miles.
Initially, the USGS report indicated the magnitude of the earthquake may have been as high as 4.2. That was later revised downward to 4.0 and then again to 3.6.
"You know, when you hear earthquake, your mind starts to race," Mattapoisett resident Kyle Jones said. "I was expecting to open the door and see a crack in the ground or something."
There were reports of people feeling the earthquake from New Bedford to Fall River, Taunton, up to Natick and as far as Granby and Gloucester. U.S. Rep. Bill Keating, who lives on Cape Cod, was among those who felt the rumble.
"All of a sudden, the house shook," Keating said. "The only way I could describe it was it was just like an explosion without the sound."
Residents of Rhode Island, Connecticut and even New Hampshire also reported feeling the earthquake.
USGS geophysicist Paul Caruso told The Associated Press that about 14,000 people went to the agency's website to report the earthquake, including people from Easthampton, Massachusetts, and Hartford, Connecticut, which are about 100 miles away from the epicenter. Caruso also said the USGS received several reports of the earthquake from Boston residents, who were more than 50 miles away from the quake.
The Red Cross of Massachusetts told NewsCenter 5 that three New Bedford homes in the area of Crapo and Nelson streets had to be evacuated due to structural damage caused by the earthquake. As a result, 10 families totaling 22 people have been displaced.
"We hope the residents in the third building will be able to return safely," said Red Cross media spokesperson Jeff Hall. Residents were given prepaid credit cards along with resources to make calls to alleviate stressors they wouldn't think of, such as cutting off their power if they are not living there. Hall said that case workers will continue to follow up for 10 to 15 days and will re-engage if necessary.
The New Bedford Fire Department reported that the bottom 4 feet of the chimney stack on the home at 202 Crapo St. had completely crumbled, and that pipes from the furnaces were leaning over. As a result, the gas had to be shut off in the building, leaving the residents without heat, hot water or stoves.
Firefighters said a home across the street, at 195 Crapo St., had the same damage as the home at 202 Crapo St., as the chimney stack had completely crumbled. The home's gas lines also had to be shut down.
While checking other house in the area, firefighters said a nearby six-family home had multiple carbon monoxide leaks, and that gas service had to be shut off.
New Bedford Deputy Chief Scott Kruger said there is a long process that will follow in order to repair damage.
A chimney has to be assessed before rebuilding it, which may include opening up walls. Since it carries natural gas, Kruger said the chimney will have to be brought up to current code, as many chimneys were built long ago under older requirements. This process will require a building permit because a vital part of the property has be to rebuilt from the ground up.
Carbon monoxide and other poisonous gases will have to be vacated. Kruger said that Eversource may have to open up the street to make sure the gas lines are working properly, some of them being close to 100 years old.
Kruger said residents should check for signs of structural damage, such as enlarged cracks because older foundations don't stand up to seismic activity. He said if your carbon monoxide alarm goes off, call 911 immediately. He said the fire department received about a dozen calls yesterday from residents who detected an unknown smell of gas in their apartment.
The Fall River Police Department received numerous calls from residents about minor damage inside their homes. Police also said that two street signs in the area of East Main Street were uprooted.
The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency said it has not received any reports of major damage or injuries caused by the earthquake, and added that there is no tsunami danger from the quake.
According to USGS records, the last time New England saw an earthquake this strong was on Oct. 16, 2012, when a 4.5 magnitude earthquake struck near Saco, Maine.
Anyone who is in need of assistance and has yet to contact the Red Cross of Massachusetts can do so by calling 800-564-1234.
John Ebel, the senior research scientist at the Boston College Weston Observatory, says aftershocks could be felt in the next few days, but notes that he is not expecting any of those potential shocks to be bigger than Sunday's earthquake.
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