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New Jersey town at epicenter of Northeast earthquake assessing damage

4.8 earthquake, aftershocks rattle New Jersey residents
4.8 earthquake, aftershocks rattle New Jersey residents 02:32

READINGTON, N.J. -- Crews are assessing the damage in the New Jersey township at the epicenter of the 4.8 magnitude earthquake felt across the Northeast on Friday

The U.S. Geological Survey traced it to Whitehouse Station, which is in Readington. There were several aftershocks, including a 3.8 quake, but no reports of any injuries or major damage. 

"It felt like a tree hit my house repeatedly," said Rod Stanga. 

"It was almost like a big truck was going by and we felt a rumble and the house started shaking. But then the rumbling after a few seconds got more intense," said Chris Naples.

"It sounded like ten freight trains going at the same time. It felt like the house jumped, and then I thought, 'What was that?' And then it started to shake," Readington resident Mary Heidersberger said.

A tree crashed down on Roosevelt Road in Readington right after the jolt at 10:23 a.m. 

"It felt like 50 enormous trees falling around my house and on the house, and I thought that the roof was going to collapse and then the walls were going to come. I ran downstairs when I realized it was an earthquake, because we had had a small earthquake here a couple weeks ago," said Nancy Young. 

Mayor Adam Mueller said emergency crews responded to dozens of gas leaks. 

"Obviously when it first happened there was a lot of calls to 911. Nobody knew what was happening, so we tried to get that out on township social media page immediately, that it was indeed an earthquake and encourage residents not to call 911 unless it was an emergency," said Mueller.

Anne Owen says she had to try to calm her horses.

"It was very scary. It sounded like something, a bomb had gone off, and my horses were outside in the field running around like crazy," she said.

Gov. Phil Murphy immediately activated the state's emergency operation center. 

A historic site in Readington was also damaged. The upper portion of the Grist Mill, built in 1760, collapsed. 

"This property was very important to the American Revolution. We recently secured some grants to clean up and restore this property in anticipation of the 250 year anniversary of the country. That work was completed. Now we're going to have to shift gears," said Mueller. 

There was also damage reported in Newark, where three homes were evacuated because the foundations may have shifted

Readington is on the Ramapo Fault Line, a major fault line in New Jersey, but this was the area's strongest earthquake in years.

Seismologists say to expect more aftershocks in the next week, especially near the epicenter.

"While aftershocks are a concern for this first 24-, 36-, 72-hour period out to about a week, the entire East Coast is a seismically active area, but most of the earthquakes are relatively small," said Dax Soule, a seismologist and assistant professor at Queens College.

New Jersey's Department of Community Affairs also tells residents to check their structures to make sure there are no cracks.

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