Hoosiers share scary stories of surviving Northern California earthquake

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By Eric Levy

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Aug. 24, 2014) -- Hoosiers who aren't used to the shaking and rattling of an earthquake were able to experience the real feeling for the first time.

The strongest earthquake in 25 years struck six miles southwest of Napa, California's famous wine country. More than 100 people were injured. Among those who felt it was Matt Stewart, the deputy chief of operations for the Wayne Township Fire Department. He was there for an IndyCar race when the shaking and rattling woke him up.

"I walked over to the window and pushed on it, trying to figure out why it was rattling, and then you could feel the wall of the building, I mean you could feel the building was actually moving," Stewart said.

On the phone from California, Stewart said the shaking lasted only a little more than 15 seconds. He was about 20 miles from the epicenter in his hotel. However, the damage was most certainly realized when he headed closer to where the quake was really felt.

"There were cracks across the roads, not necessarily the freeways, but a lot of the access roads up there where the highway patrol had them shut down," he said. "Just a little bit north of us they had several gas and water mains broken, a lot of fires."

The stories from jittery Hoosiers don't stop there.

"Just out of nowhere, the whole room started shaking. The girl I'm sharing the room with both, we both sat up and we're like 'Oh my gosh, what's happening'?"

That was the initial reaction from Hoosier Lottery producer Brandy Ostojic, who was in northern California for that same race. She certainly didn't expect this.

"It lasted, I mean it felt like forever, it was probably 15 seconds, but everything was moving, lights were flickering," Ostojic said.

Stewart and Ostojic will certainly be able to keep this experience tucked away and tell the story for years to come.