Concern over outbreak of earthquakes in central Oklahoma

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GUTHRIE, Okla. -- A sudden outbreak of earthquakes in Oklahoma has both residents and state officials concerned.

Over the past week, there have been more than 15 earthquakes in southern Logan and northern Oklahoma County ranging from a magnitude of 1.9 to 4.0. Many of those have been in Guthrie.

Residents there say they only expect the quake problem to get worse, and are worried about not only their homes, but their historic downtown.

Most of the buildings in downtown Guthrie are more than 100 years old. The Heritage Collection was built in the late 1800s. The owner says the earthquakes are causing damage to her business.

"You can see where the wall is shifting because all the paper is tearing and separating," Linda Rice, owner of The Heritage Collection, said.

She blames earthquakes for cracks in the walls and a sinking floor in her business.

"I mean, it actually looks like it's falling because this floor is going downhill," Rice said.

Rice says she cannot get earthquake insurance because the building is too old. The money for repairs will most likely come from her own pocket.

"At this point I have small damage, but if they keep getting bigger what's it going to do to all these old buildings," Rice said.

Those at the Pollard Theatre Company are also concerned.

"They've spent so much time and effort restoring these buildings and making them just beautiful that it would be a shame, you know, if something did happen," Jennifer Rosson, Box Office Manager, said.

The following statement was sent to NewsChannel 4 by Matt Skinner, with the Oklahoma Corporation Commission.

“The sudden outbreak of earthquake activity in the southern Logan, northern Oklahoma County area is of the highest concern. We are working with the Oklahoma Geological Survey to identify further courses of action in those areas as relates to oil and gas activities that fall under this agency’s jurisdiction. The vast majority of the research that has been done on the earthquakes in Oklahoma identifies oil and gas wastewater disposal wells as key items of concern, but the investigation is not limited to only those items. We are also concerned with recent activity in Pawnee and Payne counties. Many OCC staffers, including people key to our effort, live in the earthquake areas. This is both a professional and personal issue.”

"While I applaud all of its investigations, I’d like to see some action because there is a time frame to this and it will get worse," Rossen said.

The Oklahoma Corporation Commission says it has a short deadline to come up with a new plan of action.

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