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10 years ago this morning

Post by Cheryl Tucker on Feb. 28, 2011 at 10:29 am with 2 Comments »
February 28, 2011 10:39 am

The editorial board’s morning planning meeting had just broken up, and we were on our way back to our desks to start working on that day’s pages when the 6.8 Nisqually earthquake struck.

I dove under my desk and heard things falling off my shelves. Dave Seago, our now-retired editorial page editor, braced himself in the doorway. Patrick O’Callahan high-tailed it down the stairs, under the enormous Chihuly chandelier and out the front door. (I still kid him about how close he may have come to the notoriety of being an art-glass earthquake victim.)

After what seemed like an eternity, the shaking stopped. I poked my head out from under the desk and told Seago, “I think we have a new editorial topic for tomorrow!”

My first reaction was to check on family members, but phone lines were jammed. I sent out a brief e-mail to family and friends in other states to let them know I was OK. At lunchtime I drove home (in Lakewood, closer to the epicenter) to see if there was any damage.

I was sure I would find my china cabinet overturned, but it was fine. A few things were knocked off shelves, and every picture on the wall was crooked, but nothing broke. On the drive back to work, though, I saw several homes’ chimneys had crumbled.

Given the strength and length of the jolt that morning, it’s amazing that no one was killed (although one person reportedly suffered a fatal heart attack). I resolved to do all sorts of things around the house to be ready for the next one, but all I’ve done is secured many of my nicer vases and other glass objects to the shelves with putty and stashed emergency stuff in the garage (tent, cookstove and fuel, lantern, crank radio, sleeping bag).

We lucked out in 2001. The experts tell us that we’re due for a much bigger quake, and at least we can’t say we weren’t warned.

Leave a comment Comments → 2
  1. I tried to leave this at the blog that was sent to my Facebook and it refused to take it. About where I was during the Nisqually Quake?????
    I was at the front desk at my work that day. The stuff on top of my computer monitor jumped off and landed on my hands and keyboards and the phones went crazy. My reaction was to grab the phone because it was my job and the first one was my daughter, she had JUST moved into her first house and had never experienced a quake of that size. After we all left the building, it was like we were standing on an undulating bowl of jello. I can remember saying, “That felt like a 6.5 quake,” and was scoffed at. Later, when it was announced, everyone was amazed that I nailed the rating.
    I based that on experiencing the 6.something quake Iexperienced in the mid 60’s. I thought that whoever was leaning against my desk was shaking it to mess with me. When we figured it out, we all looked out the window and saw a six inch wide crack appear in the entire width of a double wide sidewalk. My mom was at home with my sister wrapped around her knees while she tried, unsuccessfully, to prevent the 20 gallon fishtank from slopping down onto the encyclopedias.

  2. BlaineCGarver says:

    I was in the K Mart on Mtn Hwy in Spanaway. The noise and vibration came first. I thought a C17 from McChord was crashing, then the shaking started. I held onto a column and a little old lady had me around the neck. Stuff was falling off the high shelves and the lights had gone out. A very memorable experience. Kudosto those that searched the aisles for victims instead of rushing out to safety.

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