Burrton schools dealing with aftermath of 4.2 magnitude earthquake


The Burrton school district is dealing with the aftermath of a 4.2 magnitude earthquake Friday after it left cracks in their structure.

The USD 369 central office building is 100 years old, and after the earthquake, Superintendent Joan Simoneau started to see the damage.

"I don't think we should have kids down here," Simoneau said. "I wouldn't put my own children down here, you know, I don't want to put anybody else's."

After seeing the damage, she had a decision to make.

"Talking to emergency management he just said, 'do you see physical damage?' I said yes, he said, 'are you comfortable?' I said no and he goes, 'well you just answered your own question'," she said.

She made the decision to evacuate 70 students and their teachers out of that building as well as another room that she thought to be structurally damaged. That room turned out to have cosmetic damage to the paint instead of the structure. Students were forced to go to other parts of the building that holds students from kindergarten to high school under one roof, and had lunch at their city building. However, damage like this to an old building isn't unusual according to officials with the Kansas Geological Survey.

"We don't prepare our houses and offices for earthquakes like they do on the west coast," said Rick Miller, a senior scientists with the Kansas Geological Survey.

According to Miller, this earthquake wasn't unusual for this area and wouldn't cause damage to most buildings. It was shallow rather than deep, like he compared to reports from those who felt Oklahoma earthquakes.

"This shallow makes them so their quicker," Miller said. "Sometimes you can hear them and they also are more of a rattle and less of a role so you don't get shells that are rocking back and forth."

Engineers came and looked inside the ceiling and said there was more damage and that the building wasn't safe. However, Simoneau said she is still trying to stay positive.

"Other than some rain and kids getting a little wet going to and from the bus we had a good day," she said.

Simoneau said she does not know when they will be able to go back into the building, but for now other parts of it are being used.