Japan’s quake stirs bad memories for Nevada town
WELLS, Nev (AP) – The devastating earthquake in Japan is stirring bad memories for residents of a small northeastern Nevada town rocked by a temblor three years ago.
Wells residents are still rebuilding after a magnitude-6 quake damaged hundreds of homes and business buildings on Feb. 21, 2008, the Deseret News of Salt Lake City reported.
The quake also closed businesses and schools, but no serious injuries were reported.
“We’re slowly getting back into it, but every time something like Japan happens, it makes a lot of people here nervous,” said Matthew Holford, president of the Wells Chamber of Commerce.
Residents say many buildings have been repaired but buildings in the heart of the downtown have gone unrepaired due to a lack of money. The quake reduced part of Wells’ historical district to rubble.
The town, located along Interstate 80 about 60 miles from the Utah line, didn’t have enough damage to qualify for federal assistance.
“It’s sad, but the people who own these buildings do not have the money to go and clean up what needs to be done,” said resident Yvonne Stuart.
She was inside her home when the quake struck, Stuart said, and Japan’s quake brought back memories of it.
“It was like a freight train, except it was worse,” she recalled. “Everything started crashing. There was glass breaking and walls shaking.”
Now, there are emergency preparedness classes in Wells, and many residents say they know what to do the next time another quake hits.
“I think we all got prepared the very next day, and we’ve all stayed prepared,” said Denny Stanhope. “A lot of people are still buying generators, stacking away a little bit extra food, a little more of the essentials, and having some type of plan together.”
Seismologists called it the state’s most destructive quake since a series of powerful temblors around Fallon in 1954, including one of magnitude-7.1.
A magnitude-7.4 quake south of Winnemucca in 1915 is the most powerful in state history, and the Wells quake was the 15th of at least magnitude-6 in the Nevada history.
Nevada is the third most quake-prone state in the nation, behind California and Alaska.