Utah– Magna’s historic Main Street was one of the places hit hardest in Wednesday’s 5.7 magnitude earthquake that shook the Salt Lake Valley.
The damage could potentially stretch far beyond the buildings, according to local businesses.
The violent jolt at 7:09 a.m. was enough to shock the system and get any heart racing.
“I was freaking out,” Magna resident Nysse Wilson said.
Little Rylee Nixon, who also lives in Magna, said she asked her parents what was happening.
“The house was shaking, the dogs were barking really loud,” she said.
Magna City Manager Greg Schulz lives on the hill above town.”It started shaking,” he said, of his house. He said it was enough to lift him out of bed. “The power went out immediately.”
The quake sent some people rushing toward Magna Main Street, which sits less than a few miles from the epicenter.”My first thought is, ‘Get down here and see what’s going on with the buildings down here,'” said Jack Nielsen, who owns a building on Main Street.
He and others found the heart of the Magna community broken into pieces.
Brick and debris crumbled to the ground, glass windows and doorways shattered, and cracks crept across outside walls.
“Just generally kind of in awe walking around,” Wilson said, of seeing all the damage.
Unified Fire Authority said they evacuated more than a dozen buildings in a several-block span of Main Street. They said some people live in apartments on the upper floors of the buildings. Others were inside businesses on the main floor.
“This has deemed them to be unsafe for humans to be near right now,” UFA spokesperson Matthew McFarland said. “We have a big concern with that, and any aftershocks, and what could continue to deteriorate.”
The aftershocks continued well into the afternoon and evening, with most reaching above 3.0 and in some cases, above 4.0.
Businesses like Nonna’s Pizzeria could do nothing but wait for Mother Earth’s pulse to die down.
“Everything in our lives is this restaurant,” owner Sebastian Randazzo said. “And it’s just like getting kicked in the face when we’re down.”
He said they already had chosen to close because of COVID-19. For them, this was yet another potential setback.
“It was emotional, because we don’t know if we have the means to come back,” he said.
Randazzo said he was waiting for clearance to go inside the building and look at the damage.
By Wednesday evening, county building assessors tagged each doorway with a paper, letting building and business owners know if it was safe to go inside.
A green paper meant the building passed inspection, yellow meant the owner needed to take caution, and red meant the building was deemed unsafe to enter.
Nonna’s ended up with a green paper– meaning the building wasn’t damaged and safe to go inside.
Other buildings like the Empress Theater and Colosimo’s Deli, ended up with a red paper because of extensive building damage.
Later Wednesday evening, Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson toured the damage, and tweeted out that it was “recoverable.”
It’s unclear how much it’ll cost to fix– and how long it’ll take for the buildings and businesses to get back up and running.
For a tight-knit town, building owners expressed feeling love on such a hard day.
“People in Magna– we know each other, we take care of each other,” Nielsen said.
Taking care of each other– straight from the community’s heart.
“[I’ve been getting] at least a dozen phone calls, asking if we were okay… making sure we were alright,” said a man named James, a building owner. “I said, ‘Yeah, we’re okay.’ That’s the best news of it. This is just material stuff.”
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