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The Dripby Mark Reutter7:15 pmAug 23, 20110

Baltimore shook up but not damaged by quake, mayor says

Above: Cracks in walls and fallen bricks were typical of the quake damage. This picture was taken on Gough Street in Highlandtown.

Baltimore escaped the Great Quake of ’11 with some minor scratches and nicks – broken windows, cracked walls and a few cascades of bricks falling onto sidewalks – but with major bridges, roads and buildings intact.

Historic St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Fells Point was closed after the quake caused cracks in its steeple and bell tower, loosening the masonry – the worst damage reported so far.

There are photos of damage to the Order of the Sons of Italy building in Highlandtown and a rowhouse that’s appeared to have buckled at Gough and Conkling streets.

Other reports are filtering in tonight of cracks found in other buildings.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said inspectors looked at interstate highways, major bridges and the 10 municipal buildings downtown after the 1:51 p.m. quake. They found no evidence of structural damage.

Shattered glass was reported at three city-owned properties – Port Discovery on Market Place, the Empowerment Academy on Braddish Ave. and the Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter, according to Rawlings-Blake.

Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III said there was no spike in crime or reports of looting. As a precaution, the day shift was given extra hours to add to the police presence following the earthquake.

The housing department sent out 50 inspectors to examine vacant and abandoned buildings, especially those on a list of “high-risk” properties. Only “minor damage” was reported, mostly bricks that fell from buildings, Paul Graziano, the city housing commissioner, said.

When the quake struck, Rawlings-Blake was at a meeting outside the city. She watched the lighting fixtures sway and felt tremors, but said the experience “didn’t rise to a [level of] panic.”

She humorously said Baltimoreans now have a new “wow factor” – recalling the day the city unexpectedly shook.

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