Quake Rattles Downtown Lynchburg

Fifth Street

Lynchburg, VA - Several buildings in downtown Lynchburg and Roanoke had to be evacuated and we've received at least one report of possible structural damage.

Some columns at the Veteran's Administration Outpatient clinic on Lakeside Drive were reportedly damaged.

Just after lunchtime on Tuesday, buildings shook and hearts dropped. People working downtown felt the tremors around 1:50 p.m., forcing many to evacuate

"Tools were shaking on the wall, things were rattling," said Jeff Gray who was working at his downtown bike shop when it happened.

"I ran out into the street and all these people were standing outside looking around. I'm like..did I just feel an earthquake?" he said.

Nearly 100 miles away from the quake's epicenter, hundreds of confused Genworth employees followed their emergency evacuation plan.

"Once we saw that things were still moving, after a few minutes we realized that it was an earthquake," said Genworth employee Toussaint Thompson.

Cell phone towers were tied up, making him even more anxious to reach his wife.

"I guess the text messages is what, kind of, she was able to relay to me that everything was okay. So, uh...sigh of relief," he said.

Earthquake Seismologist and Randolph College professor, Tatiana Gilstrap says the 5.8 magnitude earthquake ties the strongest in Virignia's history, matching the last record set in 1897 in Giles County.

The tremors were felt all across the eastern seaboard from North Carolina to Toronto.

Experts say earthquakes on the East Coast while rare, tend to be felt on a much larger scale.

"It's mainly due to the nature of the subsurface geology. We just happen to have a geology that propagates that energy," said Tatiana Gilstrap.