When Scott Keim assumed his new duties as Louisa County, VA, Fire & EMS chief on July 25, 2011, he did not imagine that he would be facing one of the most challenging incidents of his career in less than a month on the job. On Aug. 23 at 1:51 P.M., a 5.8-magnitude earthquake occurred...
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Collecting insurance information also was an important aspect of the county’s assessment process. Many residents had to move out of their homes because the structures were unsafe or uninhabitable, making the assessment process even more difficult and time consuming. In many cases, citizens did not have earthquake riders on their insurance policies. Also, individuals are not eligible for federal disaster assistance.
As of Sept. 1, damage in Louisa County was as follows:
• $63.8 million to public school structures
• $12.8 million to residential structures
• $475,000 to religious structures
• $1 million to commercial structures
• $690,000 to government structures, including Louisa County, the Town of Louisa and the Town of Mineral
• $250,000 to Louisa County Water Authority structures
The damage to Louisa County public schools and government structures is partially covered by insurance and local officials are working with insurance adjusters to determine coverage limits and direct costs. Structural engineers and insurance companies are continuing inspections and reviews. Two schools in Louisa remain unoccupied due to concerns of structural integrity. Officials expect these figures to change as damage assessment teams continue to traverse the county.
After the earthquake, there were more than a dozen aftershocks and the USGS indicated that aftershocks may be felt for months, which is similar to other earthquakes. Secondary to the earthquake, citizens of Louisa also called 911 with reports of chest pains and anxiety-related medical calls. And as if the earthquake was not bad enough, Louisa and its residents had to endure the remnants and rain from Hurricane Irene. Fortunately, there were no serious injuries from the earthquake.
A video of the earthquake may be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BpTqa23FiXY&feature=related.