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Earthquake Shakes The Wasatch Front And Back


Many Utah residents, including those in Summit County were greeted Wednesday morning a little after 7, with a magnitude 5.7 earthquake. The epicenter was in Magna but could be felt throughout much of Utah including communities on the Wasatch Back. Park City Emergency Management was, of course, on alert already due to the COVID-19 public health measures underway in Summit County.

Park City Fire District Chief Paul Hewitt told KPCW they’ve trained for years to respond immediately to this type of an event.

“The residents should know if their building shook like most of us did really badly, to do a real quick review of your building, look for cracked plaster, look for cracked bricks, mortar, any signs that your structure has been weakened and if it has been weakened, you should get out of the structure.  And, I doubt seriously that we had a lot of that. Five point seven.  I've been through some earthquakes in Utah and I've got to say that one rocked my home worse than any I’ve been in.”

Hewitt suggests everyone look for damage to gas lines and utility lines and to vacate the building if gas is smelled. After shocks are not likely to be as strong as the initial quake but Hewitt also recommends a to-go kit which would include medicines,  a first aid kit, flashlight, extra batteries, matches in a waterproof container and a whistle. It also may be helpful to have strong tape, plastic sheeting and a few tools. It’s recommended that you remove flashlight batteries to avoid corrosion.

Summit County Manager Tom Fisher says the county emergency management team isn’t over-taxed by the quake. They are pacing their resources recognizing the COVID response will be a longer-term affair. There were no medical emergencies reported through the end of day on Wednesday nor were there structural problems identified in the county. Some county emergency personnel helped respond to a Salt Lake Valley Haz-Mat call.

“Our public works folks had not been involved in the COVID response up until this point. The Sheriff's Office had adjusted resources based on the COVID emergency.”

Aftershocks continued to rock the Wasatch Front and Back on Wednesday. 


KPCW reporter Carolyn Murray covers Summit and Wasatch County School Districts. She also reports on wildlife and environmental stories, along with breaking news. Carolyn has been in town since the mid ‘80s and raised two daughters in Park City.
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