Central Albertans saw lighter side of earthquake experience

A startling 4.6 magnitude earthquake — the biggest ever to hit central Alberta — was soon followed by an aftershock of social media humour.

The quake shook homes, rattling doors and windows. It may also have led to a power blackout for about 4,600 Sylvan Lake and area customers early Monday, but otherwise appeared to do no damage.

Lacombe’s Wayne Rempel got into the spirit of the occasion posting a photo of some family photos askew on the wall.

“Alberta earthquake 2019 we will rebuild!” wrote the former Lacombe city councillor.

Optician Melissa Hall also had some fun on Twitter with the non-natural disaster.

“HOLY EFF… did we just have an #earthquake?? My bed just shook like it took quarters at a bad motel!”

“I just heard this huge boom. The entire house shook,” said Hall in an interview. “I thought for sure somebody slammed a vehicle into a power pole or into our house.

“I looked out the window and everything was black — not street lights, no house lights, nothing.”

“I found out later it was an earthquake.”

Hall was prepared with the essentials — candles, coffee and flashlights — she said with a chuckle.

Remarkably, here two children, aged one and five, slept through the drama. “I don’t know how but they did.”

She previously lived on Vancouver Island and occasionally felt tremors, but nothing like Monday’s quake.

While there was no damage to her home, she had to get the help of a neighbour to lift her garage door so she could get her car to go to her job as an optician in Red Deer.

Matt Adamowski also took to twitter to share his experience.

“Sounds like I just experienced my first earthquake in Red Deer. (I) thought I was in a horror movie when my room started shaking in the black of night,” he posted.

“Very, very weird morning. Didn’t think I’d ever experience one of those out here in Red Deer,” said Adamowski, when reached by phone later.

Adamowski lives in a condo in southeast Red Deer and said, “it was a bit confusing at first. It was almost like a giant wind gust.

“My second thought was maybe somebody drove into a pole in the underground parking beneath the building,” said Adamowski, who moved to the area from earthquake-free Saskatchewan in August.

He went on social media and immediately started seeing posts from others. He texted his family to reassure him that all was well and then posted his horror movie comparison.

“I had a good laugh at that.”

Joanne Gaudet, communications officer for the Town of Sylvan Lake, said there were no reports of damage.

Gaudet, who lives in Red Deer, said “at the very least it woke me up.”

Gaudet said there has been seismic activity in the past between Sylvan Lake and Rocky Mountain House.

The earthquake was felt throughout Red Deer and was no doubt the morning conversation subject of choice in many offices, including the Red Deer Advocate.

“I woke up and I felt just like the room was shaking,” said Charlene Stickel, who works in circulation.

“I questioned is that the wind? Then I thought that is not the wind. Then the shower door of my ensuite was rattling,” said Stickel, who lives in a third-floor condominium in Deer Park.

“I actually got up and looked out the window and everything looked calm. It didn’t look windy.”

Stickel she went online and checked Environment Canada and Facebook but nothing had been posted yet.

Sylvan Lake was hit harder, losing power for about 90 minutes.

“Basically, it was like two waves,” said Vadim Kheyfets, an Advocate sales consultant, who lives in Sylvan Lake. “It shook and it shook again. It was probably about five seconds I guess.”

Kheyfets said he had no idea it was an earthquake at first.

“I thought someone smoked their car into my building. It certainly shook the building,” said Kheyfets, who lives in a townhouse near the Sylvan Lake Golf and Country Club.

It hit at exactly 5:56 a.m., according to his phone and the power went out immediately. It came back on about 7:30 a.m.

Kheyfets said this was the first time he has ever experienced an earthquake.

“Whatever it was, I wanted it to stop.”

With files from Black Press’s Megan Roth and the Canadian Press

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