Sparta still recovering 1 year after 5.1-magnitude earthquake

North Carolina News

SPARTA, N.C. (WGHP) — One year ago, an earthquake startled people out of their sleep and destroyed businesses and homes in Sparta.

Every person in Sparta has an earthquake story.

“I was literally thrown from the bed. It was like a plane crashed or a train was coming through,” Roger Jones said.

The 5.1 magnitude quake zeroed in on the small town. People in other parts of the state felt the shakes but didn’t see the damage.

“We had water line breaks. We had sewer line breaks,” said Wes Brinegar, the mayor of Sparta.

Roads buckled, and parts of buildings crumbled, making homes like Jones’ unlivable.

“They’re going to tear my house down and rebuild it,” Jones said.

On Monday, the mayor and other state partners stood “Sparta Strong” to update the people on North Carolina on their recovery.

More than two-thirds of the $24 million in recovery money the state contributed is already at work. Schools and beloved meeting places like VFW post 7034 are being repaired.

“This community has come together and raised money for families. They have come together and donated their time, meals. People have put people in homes, campers,” Brinegar said.

The people rebuilding after living in their homes for decades say it’s hard for anyone who is not in Sparta to understand the loss.

“It’s exciting to see some of the things, but…there’s a lot of sadness and a lot of heartbreak,” Jones said. “People got hurt. And unless you lived through it, you’ll never really understand it.”

Brinegar tells FOX 8 his town has experienced more than 300 aftershocks since the earthquake. Those shocks are causing anxiety and more damage inside of people’s homes.

He’s going to ask the Office of State Budget and Management for Disaster Recovery for an additional $9 million to cover additional damage.

The state made a three-year commitment to the town and its recovery. So far, they’ve received over 200 applications for assistance.

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