Content residents still shaken from quake
Exposed steel and cracks in the base of the damaged house in Content, Portland. (Photos: Everard Owen)

CONTENT, Portland — A look at the devastation to a 15-apartment house in their farming community has residents of Content in west Portland convinced that they were at the centre of Monday's 5.6-magnitude earthquake. One day after the quake they still appeared shell-shocked from the harrowing experience.

"This earthquake here look like we are the centre of it. Look what it do mi grandchildren house," bemoaned Newton Coulson as he looked at the damaged structure.

His grandchildren live overseas.

The first floor of the once-majestic structure, with a view of the Blue Mountains, has been reduced to a mess of rubble and cracked concrete. In the quake-cracked gully below a tethered pig peers up at those above.

On Tuesday, Coulson told the Jamaica Observer of his experience with the earthquake, which experts said had its epicentre 10 kilometres from Buff Bay in Portland. He was farming when he heard the sound of cracking. That sparked a fear that the ground would sink beneath his feet.

COULSON… look what it do mi grandchildren house

"Is like the mountain a come up to me; it was for around two minutes. It is the first time I am experiencing this — first, first, first!" he exclaimed.

On his way home he stopped at a neighbourhood shop, and that's when he got the news about the house.

"A bike man come and tell me seh the whole of the house mash up. When I came around, the whole a the house mashed up; the whole of the bottom floor crushed out completely. Me feel it, man. I think it [the earthquake] started here," he said.

Frank McInnis, who lives across the road from the badly damaged house, said he was inside his house at the time of the quake and felt the violent movement of the earth. He thought about running outside but chose not to.

MCINNIS… when I look down I see the house shaking

"When I look down I see the house shaking and something like smoke, but when I came out I realise that it was dust from the house. I didn't know it was damaged that badly. Look like a here it [the centre] was," he said.

Other residents told the Observer they had landslides on their farms and that a section of the road was badly damaged.

BY EVERARD OWEN Observer writer

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