Seamus and Charlie knew just what to do when the big quake hit.
When the shaking started in their Eagle River Valley neighborhood, the shaggy haired 12-year-old and his teenage buddy bolted in the direction of Walmart and didn’t look back. Things could have ended badly for the runaways that day if it weren’t for the actions of a sharp-eyed cop, a determined mom and a kindly neighbor with a Lion King sleeping bag.
Not everyone survived Friday morning’s quake unscathed. Calls for service were widespread in the immediate aftermath of the magnitude 7.0 shaker, with numerous calls reported for things like gas leaks and fire alarms.
The Chugiak-Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department responded to 28 calls in the 24 hours after the quake, including three structure fires, six medical calls, a pair of car crashes and 10 leak investigations. There was also a teacher who thought she was going into labor at Fire Lake Elementary, but the baby ended up deciding to wait until things calmed down outside.
Though Friday’s earthquake caused widespread damage in downtown Eagle River, one thing was abundantly clear.
Jitters isn’t going anywhere.
The popular downtown coffee shop that’s home to countless business meetings and bull sessions was hit hard by the quake, as were other tenants in the Eagle River Shopping Center. But on Sunday, a small team of employees, volunteers and friends showed up to help clean up the family owned institution.
The Eagle River man was in bed when shockwaves from a magnitude 7.0 earthquake ripped directly through the neighborhood, instantly turning the split-level home he shares with husband Rick Walburn into a ranch.
“The only way I can describe it is it felt like a plane was crashing into the house,” Cushman said Sunday as he and Walburn surveyed the collapsed home on Dome Circle.
Now that the dust is settling from Friday’s big shaker, the Anchorage fire chief wants people to check on their neighbors.
“I’m asking you guys to work through your community councils to do neighborhood welfare checks,” chief Jodie Hettrick asked Anchorage Assembly members during an emergency meeting of the assembly held Sunday at the Municipality of Anchorage’s emergency operations center in downtown Anchorage.
Damage was widespread in Chugiak-Eagle River Saturday as residents worked to dig out from Friday’s magnitude 7.0 earthquake.
Water pipes burst, pictures and dishes fell off walls, windows blew out and several homes suffered structural damage that ranged from minor to major — including a home on Dome Circle that apparently suffered a collapsed garage and one on Ptarmigain Boulevard where an entire room on the side of a large two-story home completely broke away from the main structure.
Friday’s earthquake may have been a boon for the producers of an upcoming PBS documentary featuring survivors of the 1964 Good Friday quake.
“I did send them an email asking if they did that for PR,” joked Eagle River’s Dan Kendall, whose story is chronicled in Season 2 of “We’ll Meet Again,” a series executive produced and presented by Ann Curry.
The documentary brings people together who haven’t seen each other in many years. In Kendall’s case, he was reunited with former Little League teammate and neighbor Rudolph “Bucky” Svein, who now lives in Washington.
The lights came back up before the sun did Saturday in Chugiak-Eagle River, where at 4 a.m. Matanuska Electric Association announced power had been restored to all areas following an outage that began with a magnitude 7.0 earthquake that ripped directly through the cooperative’s power grid.
With its mix of urban living and rugged terrain, the Chugiak-Eagle River area is in many ways an ideal representation of issues facing neighboring Chugach State Park.
“This area is a great example of a Petri dish of some of the issues we have parkwide,” said Chugach superintendent Kurt Hensel during the Nov. 19 meeting of the Eagle River-Chugiak Parks and Recreation Board of Supervisors.