An earthquake blamed on a mining blast jolted the border area between the two Germanys for 12 seconds, damaging hundreds of homes, destroying a church and injuring six people, an East German report said Tuesday.
"I had the feeling that everything was falling apart," the official ADN news agency quoted Herbert Hermann, mayor of the East German border town of Bad Salzungen, as saying."I watched as cracks formed on my walls and plaster fell from the ceiling. All I could think of was opening a window and getting out of there."
There were no reports of deaths from the Monday afternoon quake. West German seismologists said the tremor measured 5.7 on the Richter scale. East German reports put the magnitude at 5.5.
ADN, in a report from Bad Salzungen, said the quake badly damaged about 200 houses and ruined others in the nearby town of Voelkershausen, six miles from the West German border.
"Residents were evacuated from 15 homes that are no longer inhabitable and were taken in by neighbors and relatives," ADN said of the situation in Voelkershausen.
The town's church, more than 100 years old, was one of the most severely damaged buildings, ADN reported, calling the structure a "portrait of devastation."
According to ADN, the quake followed a cave-in and shifting of underground rock formations caused by blasting in a potash mine in Merkers, about six miles west of Bad Salzungen.
Six people were injured, including some struck by falling chimney bricks, ADN said. No one was in the mine was hurt.
The quake knocked out electricity and water services and badly damaged 80 percent of the homes in Voelkershausen, ADN reported.