The Herald, Sharon,
PA Posted Saturday, Sept. 26, 1998


Quake leads to thoughts of bomb, truck wreck

By The Associated Press

TRANSFER, Pa. (AP) -- The earthquake that shook the northwestern part of the state had Pennsylvanians thinking it was something else entirely -- maybe ditch diggers, dynamite or a runaway truck.

Buildings closest to the quake's center, which was about 15 miles north of Sharon, had minimal damage on Friday. The shaky ground caught people off guard around northwestern Pennsylvania.

"Boy, it shook the house," said Mary Bartolic, 75, co-owner of Birchwood Gold Course in Transfer, Mercer County. "I thought it was an explosion next door. I never had such a feeling before."

Golfers ambled off the course and ended their rounds early.

"They thought someone was doing some excavating," Bartolic said. "It sounded like a thunder came in over the house."

Dave Walker Jr. fell from the sixth rung of a ladder and bruised his backside. He was stocking shelves with plastic water tanks at Tom Thurber Wells and Pumps in Jamestown, close to the epicenter.

"A bunch of tanks followed me down -- just missed me," Walker said.

A parked, three-quarter-ton truck shimmied about 1 foot back and forth near where Walker landed.

Reynolds Elementary School employees in Greenville had children on the playground when the school rumbled. Teacher's aide Tammy Malanowski said an initial guess was that a tractor-trailer truck had slammed into the building.

"There's too many things going through your mind when you're sitting in school and the building shakes," she said.

Her second thought, as the lights swayed and the ground vibrated, was that a bomb had detonated.

"I was very glad there were no kids at school then," she said. "It makes you stop and think."

Cooks and waiters at the Texas Pit Barbeque in Albion didn't even pay attention.

"It was just a little shake," said Tina Thomas, assistant manager. "It didn't even do anything."

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Updated Sept. 26, 1998 5 a.m.
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