Tom Quirk, Baltimore County councilman of District 1, said he had stopped at his home on Edmondson Avenue in Catonsville and was checking his computer in the dining room on the first floor when the house shook.
"I thought it was maybe a big tractor trailer," said Quirk. But when it went on, he knew it had to be an earthquake, although he said he'd never felt one before.
"My first thought was, 'Am I insured,' " said Quirk, who works as a financial consultant in Catonsville.
He said his assistant at his consulting office on Frederick Road told him a bookshelf in the office was swaying back and forth, looking like it might topple over. It didn't.
Along Frederick Road, Catonsville's main street, people were spilling out onto the sidewalk, trying to figure out what had happened, said Quirk's legislative assistant, Pete Kriscumas, who was in a car parked behind the council district office when the shaking started.
"It was really rocking," he said. It seemed someone was rocking the back of the car, he said.
Kriscumas said the councilman's office got a call about 4 p.m. from the Baltimore County Library saying they were closing the Lansdowne Branch at 500 Third Ave. because of a "pretty large crack in the side of the building."
Library officials said the Lansdowne branch will remain closed until its structural stability can be assured.
One of the smallest buildings in Arbutus remains perfectly stable.
Cymea Saradpon was making a custard and strawberry snowball at the Eskimo Shack on Oregon Avenue when the earthquake hit, she said.
"I felt the floor rocking kind of like when you're on a boat and its anchored," Saradpon recalled only hours after the earthquake. "I thought at first it was the ice cream machine."
Despite the shaking, Saradpon said the building didn't sustain any damage.
Not even the stacks of Styrofoam cups sitting on a shelf above her head fell, she noted.
Even without much damage happening in Arbutus, Saradpon said the earthquake is a hot topic.
"Almost everybody who comes up today asks about it," Saradpon said with a laugh.
County Executive Kevin Kamenetz was in Ocean City last weekend for a convention and stayed a few extra days with his family, and said they didn't feel a thing by the shore.
But immediately after the earthquake struck, Kamenetz received a call from his office.
"I spoke to the police and fire chiefs immediately," Kamenetz said over the phone from Ocean City.
Had he been around, Kamenetz said, the process in the Emergency Operations Center, which is coordinated by Baltimore County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, would have been the same as it was today.
"We leave it up to the police and fire chief to implement the protocols that are already in place, so it doesn't require me to oversee," Kamenetz said. "The key is that I'm in regular contact.