Residents wake up to shaking furniture
Roxanne Landman of Champaign was working as a nurse at Carle Foundation Hospital when the earthquake struck early this morning.
"I was working on the computer and the monitor was moving all over the place," Landman said. "The call lights from the patients' rooms were going on and off like Christmas."
Landman said she realized what was happening because she had been in California during earthquakes.
She said none of the patients she cares for were affected by the quake.
Kasimir Faber of Urbana said he got the first indication that something was going on from his 4-week-old baby, Roy.
"I was sitting at home at the computer, and the baby started acting weird," Faber said. "Then the house started shaking.
"My wife, Natalia, saw the walls in the bedroom shaking, and the bed was shaking. A couch moved away from the wall."
Faber said there was no apparent damage at his house.
"I think the baby took the whole experience pretty well," Faber said. "After a while he just went back to sleep."
Bill Smith heard something strange before he felt it.
It sounded like a VCR rewinding, his wife thought, and Smith suspected a cat got into their rural Tuscola home.
They were wrong. It was the sound of his clock's pendulum wildly swinging back and forth.
"It made a lot of noise," he said.
Then, at 4:38 a.m., he noted, his bed and other furniture started shaking.
"Everything on our dresser was jumping up and down," Smith said.
The tremors dominated discussion this morning at Tuscola's McDonald's, where Smith and friends Dale Phillips and Noble Eblin enjoyed coffee.
Eblin grew up near the earthquake's Southern Illinois epicenter, he said.
He called his brother-in-law this morning because he lives in Mount Erie, about 15 miles from where the quake hit, Eblin said.
Everything was fine, Eblin's brother-in-law reported; the quake just knocked things off their shelves.
Eblin said he experienced about three earthquakes while living there.
"It doesn't bother me," he said.
But Phillips heard rumbling and knew it was something unusual.
"At first, I thought it was a plane or a train in the distance," Phillips
said. "It did enter my mind that it could be an earthquake."
St. Joseph Mayor B. J. Hackler was awake in his bed this morning when he felt the earthquake.
"I could see and hear ... rattling and saw the dresser shaking," Hackler said. "Above me I could see the ceiling fan moving around."
Douglas County Sheriff Charlie McGrew said his employees felt the tremors.
"The telecommunications (personnel) and the correctional officers definitely felt the building shake and rattle," McGrew said, "and we got several calls from concerned citizens."
Many called 911, he said, but the county has had no reports of injury or damage.
Pesotum farmer Chris Hausman said the earthquake woke him up.
"I felt like I was in an uneven load in a washing machine during the spin cycle," Hausman said. "It shook the whole house, and I was surprised how long it lasted – at least 30 seconds."
Rantoul Public Works Director Greg Hazel said his staff planned to inspect the village's electric, water and wastewater plants and electric substation for any possible damage from the quake, but he was unaware of any problems in that community this morning.
"We're in the middle of the reconstruction of the water plant, so we want to make sure that everything is all right," Hazel said. "We received no calls at all, and nothing seems to be affected."
Fisher Mayor Ron Adams said the quake shook so hard at his home that the steel handles of the dresser drawers began to rattle.
"The rattling woke everybody up, and we woke to find the house shaking," Adams said. "It was quite an experience."
"Maybe we need to make T-shirts," Hackler joked, "saying we survived the earthquake of 2008."
Champaign police Sgt. Joe Ketchem said the front desk of the police department received about two dozen calls after the quake.
One woman called and asked, "Was the earthquake only in Urbana or did you have in it in Champaign, too," Ketchum said.
Ketchem said everyone working in the police department early this morning felt it.
"Even the guys in the cars out on the streets felt it," he said.
Ketchem was home eating and felt the effects there, he said.
"I said, 'It's either a tornado or an earthquake,' and I looked out the window and said, 'It's not a tornado.'"
Champaign police Detective Mark Huckstep said he was home in White Heath when the quake hit.
"I didn't feel it, but I heard stuff falling of the shelf." Huckstep said. "I thought it was kids bumping the walls."
Urbana police Sgt. Bob Fitzgerald was in the squadroom in the basement of the Urbana city building and felt a jolt.
"I thought a truck hit the building," Fitzgerald said. "We ran out to check it."
News-Gazette staff writer Steve Bauer contributed to this report.