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Barn collapses after tremors

Barrie Hanslip picks through what is left of her barn after a series of mysterious tremors. - Sharron Ho
Barrie Hanslip picks through what is left of her barn after a series of mysterious tremors.
— image credit: Sharron Ho

A barn on the 4000-block of Otter Point Road collapsed after a series of unexplained tremors rumbled through the region on Thursday, March 15.

Barrie Hanslip, owner of the 35-acre property where the barn was located, said the steepled barn tumbled downward after a large “boom” and rumble at 11:30 a.m. The large tremor was preceded by two smaller shakes around 9:00 a.m.

Hanslip wasn’t home at the time of the collapse, but her niece, Sandra Richardson, said two seconds after the large third rumble, she heard a creak and the barn collapsed.

“I thought my aunt was underneath it and was screaming for her, but I ran up to the barn and saw her car was gone,” Richardson said.

Richardson, whose residence is located adjacent to the dilapidated barn, said the earthquake-like rumbles shook the stove pipe in her home.

Hanslip said although the barn was 50 years old, it would’ve stood erect if left undisturbed.

“It’s fairly old. It was due to come down, but it certainly wouldn’t have fallen down on its own. It was well-braced,” she said.

Alison Bird, seismologist with Natural Resources Canada, said there were no earthquakes in the region during that time, adding there were calls from other residents who reported shaking.

Sooke fire chief Steve Sorensen also said the fire department received an onslaught of calls, but did not have further information.

Both Richardson and Hanslip said the tremors have been a regular occurrence in the past few weeks.

Concerned residents have been commenting on the unknown tremors on the Discover Sooke Facebook page since January 2012. According to resident reports, previous rumbles were felt around Saseenos, East Sooke, Whiffin Spit and Otter Point.

Although unconfirmed, residents speculated the tremors are the result of blasts from a company dismantling a dam in Port Angeles across the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

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