LINCOLN – The town of Lincoln is ready to welcome visitors for its annual Fourth of July parade and rodeo.
But almost exactly two years ago, some Lincoln residents and businesses were busy cleaning up damage after an early-morning earthquake.
Thursday’s earthquake in California came just two days before the anniversary of a 5.8 magnitude quake that hit around 12:30 a.m., July 6, 2017, several miles southeast of Lincoln.
The Lincoln quake was the largest to hit Montana in several decades. The shaking immediately got the attention of Lincoln Fire-Rescue Chief Zach Muse.
“The dogs kind of freaked out, and I felt it roll,” he said. “I knew something wasn’t right.”
Muse had lived through several earthquakes while serving in the Navy in southern California. When he realized what was happening, he quickly activated his volunteers, to start assessing the damage.
“The public, they don’t know what to do and what’s going on,” he said. “So it’s comforting for them to see all of us out, patrolling and checking everybody and making sure everything’s okay.”
Muse said the damage was relatively limited. They did not have to deal with serious fires or gas leaks. Some buildings had damaged foundations, and some brick chimneys were so compromised that they had to be brought down. He also remembers seeing some large cracks in dirt roads around the area.
At the D&D Foodtown market, hundreds of items came off the shelves. The On the Rocks liquor store lost about $500 worth of products when bottles fell to the floor.
“One of my employees was working, and she called me and said, ‘We’ve had a really bad earthquake,’” said owner Betty Eisenzimer. “She sent me pictures of the bottles on the shelf that had fallen off.”
There are still some stains on the liquor store’s carpet from the broken bottles. The store might have had even more damage if they hadn’t recently moved to a new building.
“Memorial Day weekend, we had moved to this store, and the old store we moved out of had hard floors,” Eisenzimer said. “That was a good thing; we were lucky.”
Eisenzimer said the earthquake showed how the Lincoln community comes together. “People came, offered to help whenever they could,” she said.
Muse said seeing the earthquake in California brought back memories of Lincoln’s quake.
“I have some friends down there that I served with in the Navy, and I saw them posting stuff down the road – big cracks and breaks in the road and all that stuff – and I was like, ‘Man, that seems like it was just us here the other day,’” he said.
The Lincoln area has seen dozens of small earthquakes since 2017, including a 2.9 magnitude quake on Wednesday.
-Jonathon Ambarian reporting for MTN News