TRENTON — The New Jersey Office of Emergency Management is monitoring the effects of the earthquake that was felt across the Garden State this afternoon. The 5.9 magnitude quake took place at 1:51 p.m. in Virginia, 41 miles from Richmond and 83 miles from Washington, D.C., according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
The NJOEM has been in constant contact with the Governor’s office and other state department and local officials.
At this time, there are very few reports of damage to any infrastructure in the state, according to Colonel Rick Fuentes, superintendent of the New Jersey State Police and director of the State OEM. Roadways, bridges and tunnels all seem to be intact.
Deptford Township in Gloucester County has reports of a gas leak on one street (Craig Drive) and there have been several residential evacuations at that location. Also, Gloucester County College reported a gas leak in one building that has since been evacuated. An odor of gas was also reported at one home in Paulsboro. There were no reports of any injuries.
The seismic activity triggered an “Unusual Event” at Hope Creek and Salem Nuclear plants, but that is a normal response to such an event, officials said. There have been no reports of any damage at either facility.
The NJ Department of Environmental Protection, Bureau of Nuclear Engineering is monitoring inspections of safety equipment at both sites. NJOEM is also coordinating local efforts with Salem, Ocean, and Cumberland counties’ emergency management officials as they follow this event.
Mobile phone service was unavailable for many users, but preliminary indications are that this disruption was due to an extremely high call volume generated by users.
Although aftershocks cannot be ruled out, the distance from the epicenter would indicate that there is need not be a great concern for New Jersey residents, officials said.
Fire alarms at a number of buildings throughout the state were triggered at the time of the quake. Evacuations followed those alarms, but buildings were re-populated as soon as they were deemed to be safe.
The NJOEM will continue to update the governor’s office and the public on any new developments.
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