Earthquake on top of highway closure a wake up call for Island’s West Coast

“When someone says, ‘Be prepared for 72 hours,’ that means exactly that: be prepared.”

As the West Coast fretted over dwindling supplies and a highway closure blocking delivery trucks from coming in, an earthquake hit near Ucluelet.

“My wife Barb felt a tremor through her whole body, and I felt a shake in the house that I thought was maybe somebody blasting or an explosion,” Ucluelet resident Lance Cole told the Westerly News.

The roughly 4.8 magnitude quake hit Ucluelet at 1:35 p.m. on Jan. 24, according to Earthquakes Canada.

READ MORE: 4.8 earthquake shakes Vancouver Island’s west coast

Eugene Stewart Jr. told the Westerly the shaking he felt was intense and all the pictures and window blinds in his Ty-Histanis home began vibrating.

“I got up, looked outside, didn’t see any big dump trucks going by, that was my first thought,” he said, adding he looked online and discovered it had, in fact, been an earthquake. “It said it was a 4.5 off Ucluelet and I was like, ‘Man, that was intense for a 4.5.’ I wonder what a bigger one is gonna be like.”

Ucluelet mayor Mayco Noel said he did not feel the quake, but received an immediate call from the district’s Chief Administrative Officer Mark Boysen advising him it had occurred.

“The first sentence that came out of both our lips when we talked, with the highway being down, was ‘Really? Is this happening?’ We were already dealing with one situation that we seemed to be navigating through, so this was a second one,” he said. “There was no tsunami report, so we were able to, with confidence, know that everything was fine.”

READ MORE: Tofino-Ucluelet highway reopens after bridge installed earlier than expected

He added that the Ucluelet Community Centre and connecting Children’s Centre evacuated to high ground.

“They all hiked up to the BMX track immediately. There was a lot of people that felt it and rather than waiting for information, they just headed for high ground and that’s the right thing to do; don’t wait for information, get to high ground,” he said adding it was fortunately a sunny day at the time for kids to enjoy.

“They were all at the BMX track burning off some energy while the instructors were probably quite stressed out. Thankfully there was no aftermath.”

Ucluelet’s fire chief Rick Geddes oversees the community’s emergency management program and told the Westerly he also did not feel the quake, but he heard about it and hopes it reminds residents to be prepared.

“We’re at quite a significant risk compared to other places in the world,” he said. “The big thing is knowing what to do and having a grab and go kit ready, whether it’s an earthquake or a tsunami, being prepared if we have an extended power outage as a result or the road is destroyed. Be prepared to be self sufficient for up to 72 hours.”

READ MORE: VIDEO: Tofino hosts fourth annual Emergency Preparedness Fair

Noel agreed.

“We have to realize that we are always at risk of natural disasters or highway closures. When someone says, ‘Be prepared for 72 hours,’ that means exactly that: be prepared. I hope that out of the highway [closure] and that little teaser earthquake that people think about that,” he said.

“What are you going to do for your source of heat? What are you going to do for your groceries? What are you going to do with your neighbours? Are you looking after somebody elderly that you may know? Just really be community minded.”

READ MORE: Ucluelet and Tofino mayors call for “calmness” and “empathy” as highway closure cuts communities off from supplies

READ MORE: USS Wrestling team takes unique detour around highway closure to rock Abbotsford tournament



andrew.bailey@westerlynews.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Trail Smoke Eaters build strong rookie group

Check out the ‘Next Generation’ of Smoke Eaters, eight rookie commits to bolster line up

Nelson Leafs trade starting goalie Violette to Summerland as part of 6-player deal

Nelson acquires three players with Junior A experience

No new COVID cases in Kootenay-Boundary

Interior Health says as of July 30, there were no additional cases in the previous two weeks

Search and Rescue receives unprecedented funding from province

South Columbia Search and Rescue increase their range with addition of jet boat, ‘Second Chance’

Trail council greenlights contracts

Trail city council Governance and Operations Committee briefs

B.C. records 146 new COVID-19 cases through long weekend

More that 28 people tested positive for the virus each day since Friday

Canucks tame Minnesota Wild 4-3 to even NHL qualifying series

J.T. Miller leads Vancouver with goal and an assist

COVID-19 vaccine efforts provide hope but no silver bullet to stop pandemic: Tam

There are more than two dozen vaccines for COVID-19 in clinical trials around the world

Interior Health reports nine new cases of COVID-19, 149 linked to Kelowna

Nine new cases were reported in the Interior Health region over the long weekend’s four reporting periods

Two people die in propane heated outdoor shower near Princeton

Couple was attending a long weekend gathering

Study shines light on what makes LGBTQ+ youth feel safe in a community

The study goes beyond looking at school or family supports

Alberta to require masks at schools this fall, but still no mandate in B.C.

B.C. students are also set to return to classrooms in September

Feds fund $2M for habitat conservation in the Kootenays

Kootenay Connect program to protect habitat for species at risk in four areas in the region

B.C. to allow customers to buy cannabis online for in-store pickup at private shops

Age verification will still be required inside the store

Most Read