A 7.0 magnitude earthquake rocked the state of Alaska on Friday morning, churning up roads and sending office workers running to the streets in scenes locals described as pure “anarchy.”
The U.S. Geological Survey said the earthquake was centered about five miles north of Anchorage, Alaska’s largest city.
Republican Rep. Donald Young said at a press conference Friday evening that an initial assessment found that the earthquake was not deadly. “We’re quite pleased to report that there’s been no deaths at this time that we know of,” he said.
But if the news, from a casualty standpoint, was good, infrastructure was another story. Republican Sen.Lisa Murkowski said there was major concern regarding recovery efforts and safety.
“The impact is very real, the impact is very hard, and it will require apparently a great deal of recovery and effort,”’ she said. “There are homes without power. There is some concern that you may have gas line breaks that could lead to potential further disasters.”
GOP Sen. Dan Sullivan added that the state has already seen major aftershocks, “some above 5.0” magnitude.
“Make no mistake, this was a big one,” he said, citing a serious concern regarding transportation impact. “Right now the highways in and out of Anchorage, with the exception of one going up north, are cut off and that’s a big problem for us.”
Sullivan did add that despite the damage to roads and bridges, a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) administrator told state officials that there were “no reports of any major building collapse.”
In one update on Friday afternoon, AP said Anchorage Police Chief Justin Doll was recounting reports that parts of a scenic highway that heads from Anchorage toward mountains and glaciers have sunken and “completely disappeared.”.
He said officials were evaluating the damage to the Glenn Highway, but some was viewed as so significant that it will probably “take a long time to repair.”
Doll also said damage to bridges has been reported.
An AP reporter working in downtown Anchorage saw cracks in a two-story building after the quake.
People went back inside buildings after the earthquake, but a smaller aftershock a short time later sent them running back into the streets again.