5.5 Earthquake Impacts Parliament Hill

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OTTAWA – A 5.5 magnitude earthquake hit the Ontario/Quebec border, about 45km north of Gatineau Quebec. The ‘quake has impacted Ottawa where most government buildings have been closed until Thursday.

A staff member in Thunder Bay Superior North MP Bruce Hyer reports, “At 1:41pm we were working in our Parliament Hill offices in West Block when it sounded like the world’s biggest air conditioner was suddenly turned on.

“A low rumbling, with vibrations, was heard more than felt. It wasn’t immediately apparent it was an earthquake as many of the buildings in the parliamentary precinct are undergoing extensive renovations (being in a state of structural disrepair already). The rumbling grew louder and louder and then people started bolting for doorways, then it suddenly stopped about 45 seconds after it started. Dust fell from the ceilings of the buildings, some brickwork fell from the front facade, and cracks appeared in some office walls”.

The overall impact on Ottawa buildings will not be known until they are inspected.

All Parliament Hill staff were evacuated, buildings are being checked for signs of structural damage. Most Ottawa-area federal offices will remain closed until Thursday.