Vallonia native recounts earthquake in Anchorage


A Jackson County native is one of many who experienced the 7.0 magnitude earthquake Friday in Anchorage, Alaska.

Amanda Cash, a Vallonia native, moved to Alaska in 2007 and now lives in the western part of Anchorage, about 10 miles from the epicenter.

There was a second earthquake that measured at 5.6, and both events shattered highways and shook buildings throughout communities in the country’s most northern state.

The U.S. Geological Survey said Saturday that 194 aftershocks had been recorded since the 7.0 earthquake.

Cash said she and one of her children slept under the dining room table Friday because of the aftershocks.

Anchorage is Alaska’s largest city with an estimated population of 300,000, according to the The Associated Press. No deaths or serious injuries were reported.

Cash, a Brownstown Central High School graduate, was in her upstairs kitchen getting her children ready for school when the earthquake hit.

She gathered the children around during the quake.

The family, which includes her husband, Cy, and children, Cash, 10, Cypress, 5, and Townes, 3, have felt earthquakes before, but this was more violent, she said.

“There were swift, jarring bangs to the point that we thought everything was going to come down on top of us,” she said Friday afternoon. “The scariest thing is that there’s no warning, no escape and no predicting. It makes you feel very small knowing that 500,000 people are simultaneously experiencing the same thing — all frightened and on alert.”

The area experienced around 20 aftershocks before the evening, and a tsunami warning was issued for the area. The tsunami, thankfully, never came.

They first evacuated their home and filled their vehicles with fuel and then returned home.

They decided to stay and wait as damage was assessed throughout the community and for the aftershocks to stop. She said the community has come together in the aftermath of the situation.

“We’re going to stay put, cook some food and watch a movie with the kids,” she said. “We keep checking in with neighbors and friends. There is a lot of hospitality today with families inviting others over.”

Cash said she knows of damage, including the collapse of a highway ramp about a mile away and damaged offices.

She operates a restaurant and catering business, but only a few dishes and a jar of pickles were lost.

But from the view of their home, everything looks pretty normal. They live on a dead end street of the city near a forest.

“Everything looks peaceful and undisturbed, snowy and picturesque,” she said.

Still, the experience has been a stressful one that has everyone on edge, Cash said. She planned to sew to try to relax.

“There’s adrenaline that won’t stop pumping and many, many aftershocks,” she said. “My kids are treating this like a fun afternoon, but I packed emergency bags with clothing, food, medication and water.”

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