7.0 Earthquake Rocks All Of Northwest
Strong jolt centered 35 miles southwest of Seattle.
Feb. 28, 2001- SEATTLE
A strong earthquake shook the Pacific Northwest Wednesday,
windows and crumbling some walls in downtown Seattle and
Portland for nearly half a minute.
The magnitude-7.0 earthquake hit at approximately 10:55 a.m.,
to federal officials at the West Coast and Alaska Tsunami
in Palmer, Alaska.
It was centered 35 miles southwest of Seattle.
The National Earthquake Information Center in Golden, Colo.,
magnitude was 7.0, while the
University of Washington Seismology Lab, which had listed the
quake at 6.5,
revised the magnitude
downward to 6.2. The tsunami center said it was a 6.4.
Injury, Damage Reports
An elevator shaft at the Olympia Hotel in Olympia collapsed,
and 10 people
were unaccounted for.
Harborview Medical Center in Seattle reported it was treating
12 people for
quake-related injuries, three of them serious.
St. Joseph's Hospital in Tacoma was reporting at least 11
treated for injuries, mostly minor cuts and bruises.
St. Peter's Hospital in Olympia was treating one minor
A major bridge in downtown Olympia, the Fourth Avenue Bridge,
closed because of structural damage.
Windows were blown out at the tower at Sea-Tac International
several brick buildings were damaged south of downtown
shelves and cupboards spilled out their contents at homes and
A house was reported collapsed into the water near the Tacoma
All Washington State Ferries docks were closed, Seattle City
evacuated and schoolchildren were sent home throughout the
Bellevue College Closed
Bellevue Community College closed after reports of structural
A spot fire near a warehouse also broke out in a West Seattle
About 30 people spent more than an hour at the top of the
Needle. They were finally brought down after the elevators
were checked and
The quake caused a large crack in the dome of the Washington
Boeing Field Closed
King County Executive Ron Sims said Boeing Field in Seattle
has been closed
because of earthquake damage to the runway. Sims expected the
which is owned by King County, to be closed for several days.
Sims and Seattle Mayor Paul Schell said all the effort put
preparations and retrofits in recent years helped limit
damage from the
quake. The jolt was felt as far away as Salt Lake City.
Puget Sound Energy reported that 200,000 customers in Western
lost service when the
earthquake tripped circuit breakers.
Spokesman Grant Ringel says most of the outages were in south
and Thurston counties. The utility was inspecting for damage
and hoped to
have power restored to everyone by late afternoon.
No Flights Allowed
Federal Aviation Administration spokesman William Shumann
Seattle-Tacoma International Airport was closed. The tower
and the local
radar approach and departure control facility have been
evacuated, he said,
and the FAA was trying to set up a temporary operations
The regional center handling traffic in Washington and
Oregon, near Auburn,
was operating on backup power, Shumann said.
The FAA ordered a national ground stop for Seattle, which
means no flights
to Seattle were being allowed to take off anywhere in the
'Everyone Was Panicked'
"Everyone was panicked," said Paulette DeRooy of
Seattle, who was in an
elevator descending from the 15th floor from a downtown
when the temblor struck. She and several others scrambled
onto a fire escape.
Screams erupted at a nearby hotel, where Microsoft founder
Bill Gates was
addressing an education and technology conference. He was
whisked away as
his audience bolted for the exits. Some audience members were
by others trying to get out.
Video of the speech showed the stage shaking violently, and
lights falling to the floor.
In downtown Portland, office buildings swayed for 20 to 30
Television stations there and in Seattle were deluged by
calls from viewers
reporting rolling motion across the area.
'Biggest Thing Ever'
"This is the biggest thing I've ever felt," said
Darcy Nebergall, 24, of
Seattle, who was at work in a downtown skyscraper.
"It felt kind of like a big roller coaster going by. You
could feel the
building sway, but you know they're built to withstand this
kind of stuff.
Or you hope anyway."
Windows were popped out of some downtown building, and people
who had left
buildings gathered in the streets.
Alice Ayers, at her Seattle home, said it was "like a
giant truck was going
by. Everything was kind of
'People Are Frightened'
On the 35th floor of the Westin Building in downtown Seattle,
shaking alarmed a number of
"People are frightened," said KOMO 4 News Internet
executive producer Stan
Orchard, but there appeared to be no significant damage.
Across the street, however, part of the brick facade of the
West Seattle Mess
In West Seattle, at the 62nd Avenue SW apartment of another
the cupboards and
refrigerator opened and emptied all their contents and a
television fell on
the floor. Still, there appeared to be no structural damage
Fisher Plaza and the Space Needle swayed violently, as did
Power was out in the Issaquah-Hobart area.
Olympia Near Epicenter
Closer to the epicenter in Olympia, legislators, government
visiting school children flooded out of the Capitol and other
The state Senate was in session.
"The chandelier started going and the floor started
shaking. Someone yelled
get under the table and so we did," said Sen. Bob
Morton, R-Orient. "The
sudden violence let us know that this was a bad one."
Cracked plaster, gilt and even paintings fell from the walls,
said he saw no sign of major structural damage.
Officials were particularly afraid the Capitol dome would
said. Some people linked hands as they walked down the marble
the heavy dome
"If that rascal had tumbled down, it would have been all
over," Morton said.