Quake Shakes Anchorage-ites and Visitors Alike

No major damage or injuries were reported in Anchorage after this morning’s quake, but community members said they were still shaken.

Listen now:

Ken Baitsholts was walking on the Chester Creek Trail during the windless morning when the trees began moving and a flock of geese suddenly flew off. He says he followed suit and started running.

“Because I was frightened. I had no idea exactly what it was. I just thought I would get out of that clump of trees where I was. Cause a whole, like, flurry of leaves started to fall. It was very peculiar.”

Up the road at New Sagaya’s Market, Erin Wade Hemphill was working at the coffee shop. She said the quake was obvious.

“We saw the signs shaking and then the aisles started moving. And we kind of all three of us were just standing around like ‘umm…’ And when things started falling and flying off the shelves, we decided to get out of the building because there’s a lot of stuff that can come down on us here. Usually you tell everyone don’t go outside, but we made the decision to go outside,” she said.

Some guests at the downtown Marriott fled the building as well. Valet Corey Roybal was outside when it happened and people started evacuating the building. He said he tried to calm down the out-of-town guests.

“It just sort of alarmed a lot of people. You get people asking if we knew if there were aftershocks coming. We just told them, ‘They’re earthquakes. You just don’t know. Nothing like that.'”

Karen Gaborik from Fairbanks said she’s felt plenty of quakes before, but being in Anchorage made it different. “When you’re in a larger city, and near the coast, and on silt, it’s a little more concerning.”

Gaborik was in the basement of the Dena’ina Center at the time, and she said she stayed put but wasn’t sure it was the safest place to be.

Up on the surface, Bill Speir was driving and because of that, he was one of the few who said he couldn’t feel a thing.

“Unless it’s severe, like in the 1964 earthquake, where it was actually tossing cars around, no, there’s no apparent indicators that there’s an earthquake going on.”

Speir said he only knew the quake was happening because he heard about it on the radio.

But ten stories up in a glass-walled corner office of the ConocoPhillips Building, Elizabeth Lopez took cover under her desk.

“I mean, the building rolled back and forth. We swayed to the left and right and other jolt came in, and I started grabbing my cell phone and my bag.”

Lopez is a floor warden and followed up with her officemates to make sure they were safe. She said it’s important to be prepared.

“Be ready to be sure you have your correct footwear, and coverage, and then you follow what the exercise we’re supposed to do — duck, hide, and cover. And that’s the best way. And do not ever leave the building unless somebody tells you it’s safe to leave the building.”

Others reported lampposts swaying, figurines breaking, and dogs crouching to the ground near their owners.