HomeSudbury News

Tom Davies Square evacuated after earthquake

By: Heidi Ulrichsen - Sudbury Northern Life Staff

 | Aug 23, 2011 - 2:57 PM |

UPDATED Aug. 24 at 10:20 a.m.

Tom Davies Square is open for business as usual Aug. 24 after being evacuated during the afternoon of Aug. 23 because of an earthquake.

UPDATED Aug. 23 at 5 p.m.

Tom Davies Square and the nearby Greater Sudbury Police headquarters were among several downtown buildings evacuated during the afternoon of Aug. 23 after an earthquake in Virginia was felt in Greater Sudbury and throughout Ontario.

The scene on Minto Street Aug. 23 after an earthquake forced the evacuation of several downtown buildings and closed a portion of Brady Street. The street has since reopened to traffic. Photo by Heather Green-Oliver.

The scene on Minto Street Aug. 23 after an earthquake forced the evacuation of several downtown buildings and closed a portion of Brady Street. The street has since reopened to traffic. Photo by Heather Green-Oliver.

The provincial building and some businesses on Cedar and Larch Street were also evacuated, according to Deputy Fire Chief Scott Cowden.

He said a structural engineer needed to check the structural integrity of the buildings before people were allowed back in.

Brady Street traffic was stopped in the area for most of the afternoon, but is now flowing again.

Greater Sudbury Police spokesperson Const. Bert Lapalme said the road is closed as a precaution after seismic events so there would be no traffic in the area should Tom Davies Square collapse.

“I guess as soon as there's movement to a specific building, the structure has to be checked,” Lapalme said.

“If they're going to evacuate the building because of the possibility of damage to the structure, then stopping the traffic on Brady was the right thing to do, because if there's any problem with the building, if it is going to collapse, then we need to make sure there's no traffic in the path of where this collapse could take place.”

Lapalme said he and his colleagues have been allowed back inside of police headquarters, but Tom Davies had not been cleared for employees to return as of about 4:15 p.m.

Tom Davies Square staff were able to regroup at the Sudbury Community Arena, Lapalme said.

According to Earthquakes Canada's website, the earthquake, which occurred at around 1:50 p.m., registered at 5.9 on the Richter scale, and its epicentre was 45 kilometres east of Charlottesville, Virginia.

 

At around the same time the earthquake occurred, seven ore cars on a Vale train were involved in a derailment at the intersection of Frood Road and Lasalle Boulevard.

The cause of the incident is currently under investigation. Investigators are looking at the possibility it may have been caused by the earthquake.

There were no injuries related to this incident, and no production impact, according to a statement from Vale.

None of the cars fell on their side or displaced any of the ore contained inside them. However, two of the seven cars are visibly tilted. Vale expects the cars to be back online and operating by Aug. 24.

Did you feel the earthquake? Join the discussion on Northern Life's Facebook page.

 

 

-With files from Heather Green-Oliver

 

Heidi Ulrichsen

Heidi Ulrichsen

Staff Writer

@heidi_ulrichsen

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