Virginia Beach resident working in Anchorage, Alaska during 7.0 magnitude earthquake


VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — It was a terrifying morning on Friday in Alaska as part of the state was rocked by a magnitude 7.0 earthquake. 

No deaths are reported yet, and the area is no longer under a tsunami watch.

A Virginia Beach resident was in Anchorage for work and shared his experience of the earthquake. 

Pete Gundlach.and a few coworkers are doing a contracting job for the Department of Justice.

He said the earthquake is something he won’t forget. 

Gundlach was in his hotel room on the 4th floor when the quake hit.

“I heard a rumble that, to be honest, I thought it sounded like a train,” he said. “The thought crossed my mind I don’t remember there being train tracks this close and then building started to kind of shake and as I realized that it was an earthquake, the building started to shake very violently.”

Gundlach got into the bathroom doorway. He said the shaking lasted for what seemed to be about 30 seconds.

“There was a lot of rattling, all of the drawers in the dresser of my hotel room, the nightstand all popped out,” Gundlach said. “At one point, it did cross my mind that the way the building was shaking, I was like this might actually go down.”

Finally the ground stopped moving. Once it was over, Pete eventually made his way out of the building. 

Then came the aftershocks.

“The first one, that was a 5.8. That shook things pretty well but it wasn’t anything near like the 7.0 that hit us first,” he said.

Gundlach got in touch with his coworkers who were working at their contract site, which was closer to the epicenter.

“They said that the inside of that building, ceiling tiles and light fixtures were all down on the floor,” he said.

The men might be coming back sooner than planned because of the damage, but they have quite a story to tell.

“You can understand people kind of freaking out when the whole building under you starts shaking and it was quite an experience,” Gundlach said.

Gundlach said they were scheduled to be in Alaska until the end of December but the building they were working on has to be evaluated before they can continue the job.

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