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Readers tell us where they were for Denali Fault quake

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Posted: Sunday, November 4, 2012 12:00 am | Updated: 11:55 am, Mon Jan 21, 2013.

Ten years later, researchers still learning from Denali Fault earthquake

FAIRBANKS - We turned to the News-Miner’s Facebook page a few days ago to ask readers to tell us where they were when the 7.9 magnitude Denali Fault earthquake struck Nov. 3, 2002, and to tell us what they remember about it. Here are some of the nearly 50 responses we received. You can see all the memories on our Facebook page or on

— Rod Boyce

Managing editor

“My son was baptized that morning at St. Matthew’s and we had just gotten home and I was lying down watching Sunday morning football.”

— Philip Vincent


“In Cantwell. I remember standing outside on the porch with my family.”

— Tiffany Alonzo

“I was in Fairbanks, tiling my laundry area floor. Had two large cabinets overhead and was stuck behind the washer and dryer. My almost 4 yr old daughter was in a body cast, so her dad grabbed her and went for a doorway. My two young sons ran under the dining room table and worried because the dog wouldn’t join them. I remember it like it was yesterday. We had to drive to Anchorage shortly after and found a crevice in the highway just outside of Cantwell, I think it was.”

— Kimra M. Griffith

“I was in a tanning bed!”

— Cayla Socha


“Watching football at the gold rush. The most I remember was seeing a pickup truck out side swaying back in forth. Crazy”

— Dan Holtry


“I was in Fred Meyer West, trying to dodge the merchandise tumbling off the shelves. I was worried that we might have finally lost California”

— Katie Korvola Ziesmer


“I was eating lunch with my family and best friend; my mom chased us all outside to wait it out.”

— Sammi Morris


“In the movie theatre, with my family + kid’s friends. I thought the other kids sitting behind us were kicking our seats…looked back…they were a row up…against the wall. That’s when I knew something wasn’t right, and then saw the ceiling sway! People realized what was happening then and started for the exit door! We got outside and Airport Way was swaying along with the poles. Very scary it was!”

— Robyn Sutton


“I was in my house with my then hubby and our 3 kids, cowering in the doorway of our bathroom, watching all my pictures frames swaying on the wall”

— Jennifer Ippolito


“I had just moved up here. I was working for Wendy’s. I remember I was coming upstairs to the dining room from the basement. Everything was shaking like crazy. I kept thinking to myself OMG this building was going to fall apart. I went outside till it was done. This whole time people remained calm and continued to eat. To this day I still can’t believe how calm everyone was while this earthquake was going on.”

— Joe Clark


“Movie theater. We went out the exit and the entire parking lot was moving like an ocean. It was crazy.”

— Jamie Giunta


“My wife and I were in Delta Junction at a friend’s house. We ran outside in our bare feet and there were waves/ripples in the ground. I looked over and my dual wheel pickup truck was bouncing up and down so much that you could see daylight under the tires. We will never forget it.”

— Tom Jasper


“I was laying carpet tiles in my house, which I’d just had re-leveled a few weeks earlier. I heard the earthquake a few seconds before it hit and then watched the floor of my house move like waves. After about 15 seconds, I jumped up and went outside to see what kind of effect it was having on people’s vehicles, and you could tell which ones had parking brakes on. Those with parking brakes moved up and down; those without moved back and forth. It was really weird!”

— Cassandra Heide


“Fred Meyer West under a doorway, nervously watching as merchandise was falling off the shelves. Watched as the floor kept rolling. Afraid the roof was about to collapse.”

— Linda Byers Stephenson


“I live between Delta and the Gerstle River. I had just come in to have some lunch, plopped down on the couch and turned on the TV and VCR to finish the movie I had thing I know the whole place is shaking....It was hard to grasp what was happening...was it real or Memorex.....the movie I was watching was an old Charlton Heston movie Earthquake....LOL...gotta luv surround sound.”

— Paul Gerber


“I was inside my house and went to stand outside. It didn’t seem violent to me but I didn’t want to be indoors. My car was shaking and the earth was rolling in waves. It just didn’t seem violent from where I was, it just seemed to roll and it took forever till it stopped. Nothing was off the shelves and no damage at all.”

— Gina White


“In the shower. I ran outside in the snow wearing only a towel.”

— Will Bishop


“I was eating at the Cookie Jar for brunch as it was happening. It did not click for a second until the dishes started falling. Funny thing was no one moved, we all froze staring at each other then we realized it was an earthquake! It was quite an experience.”

— Karen Braselton


“I was on bed rest with my daughter. Pictures were falling off the walls and the house was shaking! Scary when you have to lay flat on bed rest during a big earthquake!”

— Jennie “Erickson” Knudson


“We were at church. Our services were being held in the upstairs rooms of a large, old building on South Cushman at the time. The pastor was preaching when the old building began shaking. He simply kept on preaching, stopping long enough to declare God’s safety upon all of us, then back to preaching. The message was all videotaped, and I believe he still has the tape. We were all fine and the building held fast. Thank the Lord.”

— Sharon Rutland


“At home with my kids on the phone my mom wondering when it was gonna stop.... It was the strangest and scary earthquake I have ever felt.”

— Billie Jensen


“I was at home with my wife and kids, and talking on the phone to my father in Louisiana when it hit. My wife grabbed the kids and got under the kitchen table and I stood in the doorway leading outside, still on the phone. Several hours after the earthquake here, the water in the pond at my dad’s house in Louisiana began to move back and forth....weird.”

— Todd Smith


“It was my birthday! I was walking out of Safeway in NP with my mom & dad. I didn’t know it was an earthquake... I told my mom ‘my legs feel really shaky. Something is wrong with them!’ And my dad said, ‘I think someone is trying to break into my truck! It’s rocking back & forth!’ It was my mom who got us on track saying, ‘It’s an earthquake... Your legs are fine and no one is trying to steal your truck. Look, the McDonalds sign is shaking. Unless someone is trying to steal that, too.’ (<--lol)”

— Ana Elizabeth Lorek


“Sitting in my ground floor dorm room in Wickersham Hall at UAF. All I saw was a little toy on my stereo wobble back and forth a little bit. It didn’t even fall over and I didn’t feel anything. Meanwhile, the phone rang, it was my friend on the 8th floor of Moore Hall, screaming and freaking out as everyone up there was hysterical because the building was swaying back and forth knocking the furniture over.”

— Anita Ashbaugh


“I was in my house. I lived in a basement apartment at the time. I remember going outside and watching the whole house sway. When I went back inside pictures were off the wall. I was very lucky. It was a very old house, built in the ’30s I believe.”

— Christy Harris


“My place in Lakeview Terrace. Holding up our 75 gallon fish tank on a pedestal...with my wife and kids... It was swaying back and forth like crazy...”

— Mike Dirks


“We were driving to the Riverfront Theatre to see “The Foreigner.” Thought we had a flat tire. Aftershocks all through the performance sent the chandelier on stage swaying like a pendulum. After the show I had 27 messages on my cellphone from all my crazy relatives in California. They thought we were obliterated-LMAO. Lucky I live ALASKAN❤!”

— Corrie Kossow Garrison


“I was watching Young Frankenstein! =D”

— Leah Glasscock-Sanders


“I was in my 8th floor dorm room on the phone with a friend across town while watching books falling off my shelves. That was fun.”

— Robb Myers


“I was at home in North Pole getting ready to eat lunch before heading to work. Everything swayed back and forth like on a boat for a few seconds and then jumped up and down hard enough to make my dishes rattle. I was lucky my house was built really well cuz nothing fell at all. The swaying kept going after that for a good minute or two. It was the longest couple minutes ever!”

— Dana Tolliver


“I was in the movie theater in Fairbanks, watching Sweet Home Alabama. By the time we were going to head out the door, it was over and we watched the rest of the movie. We were told the road between Fairbanks and Delta was damaged and we would not be able to drive home, which wasn’t true.”

— Carol Crandall


“We were on the second floor of a rickety old apartment building admiring our newest grandbaby when the walls began to fold in waves. Everyone ran downstairs and outside, so mixed up that bare feet weren’t even noticed. It was the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen.”

— Tanya Arvold


“It was my 40th birthday and I was celebrating it by making a new duvet cover for the bed. The wine glasses in the rack started to clink, so I ran from the sewing machine to the parking lot. My husband met me there, as he was working in his shop. We both watched our rigs in the parking lot look like they were riding down a rough road. We were on top of Smallwood at the time. Talk about Rock and roll!”

— Celeste Johnson Pugh


“I was in the Santa Claus House, which made it 12.0 because all the glass collectables were falling and breaking. Then everybody ran for the door at the same time. Then we look outside and the ground was like a wave, the street and light poles were swaying. Very scary! We had nowhere to take cover. No open fields. Just stayed in the doorway, hoping it would be over soon.”

— David Hodges


“We had just started driving on Chena Hot Springs Road after a 6 mile on the Stiles Creek Trail. The car pulled significantly when going over the guardrail section just west of the turnout. We figured it was just icy there. We learned of the quake on the national news. Of course, I worked in maintenance at the time, so we were on it.”

— Donna Gardino


“Clear AFS Kitchen. We went outside and the ground was sloshing back and forth like if we were on a boat, trees and lamppost whipping back and forth like a fly rod. My coworker, Janice M. Tisdel, was so scared and even more so with each aftershock.”

— Roland Ginnaty


“Bruce and I were in our computer room with our animals...everything started shaking...except for the animals....they were flat to the floor looking at Bruce....that is when I knew Bruce rules until. ... Momma is scared!”

— Margaret Carpenter


“I was filling out my logbook preparing for a trip. The motor coach started going crazy trying to auto-level. I looked out the window and saw every light & vehicle shaking in the yard.”

— Sean G. Bohanan


“I was home. Me and my girlfriend jumped up and ran out like everyone else. When we got outside the trees were swinging back and forth, almost touching the ground, and the ground was shaking at the same time.”

— Roland Riley


“My husband and I were home. As we felt the earthquake begin we commented that this was rocking pretty hard. I moved my husband under the archway of our dining room (he is wheelchair bound) and I went over to stop the china cabinet from falling over. This earthquake felt stronger and went on longer to me than the memory I have of the earthquake that was on March 27, 1964. After it was over, we decided to secure the china cabinet to the wall.”

— Vel N Sam Wager


"I remember it very well. I was sitting in my dinner room table doing my craft stuff when that earthquake shook. I saw my husband running back to my house and see the RV rocking back and forth out of the carport and my 20-inch TV fell off the shelf, but my 5-year-old female cat was lying there when the shake started, and the TV fell just when she moved. I was lucky. We and my cat were fine after that."

—Shirley Gumb


"I was loading my son into the truck and yelled at my husband because I thought he was rocking the truck! lol Then I realized everything was moving!"

—DeeDee Christianson

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