Page last updated at 13:06 GMT, Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Chimneys fall as earthquake hits

Firefighters tackle one of numerous collapsed chimneys in Hull
Numerous chimneys have collapsed across the region

The biggest earthquake to hit the UK for nearly 25 years has toppled chimneys and left roofs in dangerous conditions in the Humber region.

Humberside Fire and Rescue Service received about 200 calls from concerned residents, but no-one was injured.

The worst-hit area was Grimsby but other areas affected were Cleethorpes, Goole, Bridlington and Hull.

The British Geological Survey said the epicentre of the 5.2 magnitude quake was near Market Rasen, Lincolnshire.

Glenn Ramsden, from the fire service, said: "We've still got some active incidents.

"People are... finding bits have been displaced on chimney stacks or garden walls."

earthquake graphic

He added: "Whilst everyone living in the region was certainly shocked by the experience, spare a thought for Blue Watch in the Humberside Fire and Rescue Service control room who were terrified as the whole of the headquarters building shook through the tremor.

"Control room staff bravely gave reassurance and advice to the many callers whilst not really understanding what had actually happened and being scared themselves."

Michael Nagasaka, who lives in Hornsea, said: "I was in my bed sleeping, and the earthquake started with some sound of electric cables rapidly swinging, then came the very strong shake of the bed, which lasted over 10 seconds - it is quite horrifying when it gets you while half asleep.

"I hate to think about people who were sleeping beneath book shelves, or even trapped in elevators.

"I lived in Japan for some years and have experienced quite a number of earthquakes like that. But the last thing I expected after coming to England was an earthquake, especially that size."

Firefighters tackle one of numerous collapsed chimneys in across Hull
Firefighters are dealing with collapsed chimneys in Hull

Fire station manager Keith Evans and his crew were called to Anlaby Road in Hull, where a chimney collapsed.

He said: "The pavement is actually covered in large amounts of debris; we're talking house bricks and masonry and it's actually covering probably 10 square metres of the pavement area.

"So we have cordoned the area off to make it safe for pedestrians and the traffic's still running normally.

"But once the aerial appliance gets here we'll need to close the road off so we can get the vehicle to work."

The main 10-second quake, which struck at 0056 GMT at a depth of 15.4km (9.6 miles), was the biggest recorded example since one with a magnitude of 5.4 struck north Wales in 1984.

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