- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 24, 2011

D.C. officials closed schools on Wednesday and “red-flagged” 13 educational facilities as they inspect damage from a 5.8-magnitude earthquake that surprised residents up and down the East Coast on Tuesday afternoon.

Most of the damage to school buildings was cosmetic, however the Columbia Heights Education Campus sustained damage to a truss, which is a beam used for structural support, City Administration Allen Lew said.

Mayor Vincent C. Gray said inspectors worked through the night at schools and other buildings in the District, but wanted to give them another look in the daylight.

As reports came in overnight, it “just seemed prudent” to close all the schools to ensure student safety, Mr. Gray said.

Officials said damage to the Columbia Heights facility was the most significant, but there is no indication any facilities could collapse.

The McFarland Middle School sustained chimney damage that was significant enough to warrant the closure of neighboring Roosevelt Senior High School.

School Without Walls also sustained damage to its masonry, officials said.

Nine additional schools were put on the “red-flag” list because of reported damage: Bancroft Elementary School, Beers Elementary School, Burrville Elementary School, Cardozo High School, on Eaton Elementary School, Ferebee-Hope Elementary School, Lafayette Elementary School, Langdon Education Campus, Noyes Education Campus.

Two injured students are doing fine on Wednesday, after a tile fell on the head of one and the other suffered sprained ankle during earthquake, D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson said.

All D.C. government buildings were deemed safe and open for business at their usual time on Wednesday. However, the city’s Office of Tax and Revenue, including its customer service center, at at 4th St. in Southwest is closed because of a power outage, according to the Office of the Chief Financial Officer.