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CNN NEWSROOM

Extensive Damage After 7.0 Quake Near Anchorage, Alaska. Aired 2-2:30pm ET

Aired November 30, 2018 - 14:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[14:00:04] BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: You are watching CNN with me on this Friday afternoon. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thank you for being with me. Let's dive right into this breaking news.

The 7.0 earthquake near Anchorage, Alaska has now triggered a tsunami warning and you can see as we all been watching these pictures coming in roads, highways, bridges totally collapsed, a lot of damage from this quake. Anchorage emergency officials are alerting people to shelter in place. Right now, 2:00 on the east coast, 10:00 in the morning, Anchorage time.

And as we're getting more, more pictures, you can see more of a chaotic scene, high school students hiding under desks in the classroom as glass is shattering all around them. We have also heard from the Anchorage school districts that they have closed all the schools there.

And our affiliate, KTVA, who has been up -- live on Facebook, is reporting several road closures and at least one report of an overpass that has possibly collapsed.

Here is our affiliate KTVA.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not much but quite a bit.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, this is --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, in short you are --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I resume it for office. Yes, this is the graphics department office where we have flooding, batteries all over the place. Lots of --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now, some TVs were able to stick on the wall there and on the wall. I -- man, it is just absolute destruction. This is Doug's desk right here. This is where the gentleman holding the cellphone works -- works on daybreak to different, you know --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's have the (inaudible).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I see a -- I want to take you down towards the main studio right now. And again, if you just joining us, it happened about 8:30, so we are daybreak on KTVA from 6:00 to 7:00 do some cut- ins, some different things. Looks like this area --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Looks like master control is doing all right. That's good.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible) you can see Jeremy there, that's going out of a broadcast television. Like we we're just -- like get ready to the day basically, going to take couple of. We had Deejay Spencer Lee and we had fishing game on this morning on daybreak. So, we kind of break those stories up and get some stuff -- some content for the evening news.

So, that's what we were doing about 8:30. 7.0 magnitude earthquake and it was -- what, about five miles north of Anchorage, 25 miles deep so pretty shallow and just caused mass destruction overpasses at Minnesota International since daybreak, and then also the (inaudible) bridge -- going to show up here. So --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. Let's just show up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- we got help.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is our production control room. As you can see, Jeremy is live right now through our station, but this is what we're sort of looking at, a lot of our stuff, our monitors have fallen. We've got a lot of -- some lights have fallen.

UNIDENTIFED MALE: Sound board here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Next up the highest slides of the board up manually.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And this is dangerous too. Eric almost hit his head, right on that because he's a tall guy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Be careful where you're walking about with this debris.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That the end in this light picture is just kind of hanging on by a thread it looks like. So I really like this whole idea of, at least telling over -- yes, I mean,

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'd like to show where I was when this happened because this is a pretty impressive example of what you're looking at, about where -- why it's important to get under shelter. So this is the room I was in when this happened. I don't know how well you guys can see but this is our tape room. All these tapes --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is library (inaudible) --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Early I did iditarod -- you might -- the first time iditarod is in here. We got some really cool classic footage in KTVA archives here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. I was sitting over there at that computer and, you know, luckily got out of the building before a lot of this happened but this going to be a messed to clean up obviously. But imagine if you were trying to hide or take shelter against a wall -- against the wall with the tapes. This is why you don't do that because this can fall on you, it can hurt you, lots of other stuff could have fall in it and got you or any of us, you know, don't stand on a doorway. Get under something sturdy.

UNIDENTIFED MALE: Let's back here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Looks like we got our --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It used to be the graphics department, all (vent) entire table has flipped over back here and look -- or maybe this is just mess to begin with.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't really think so.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is not. It is not. This is worst. And then --

UNDINTIFIED MALE: Let's go downstairs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, a lot of people were asking if anyone was OK, if everybody here was OK and I believe everybody got out of the building OK. It was 8:30, so we didn't get our big rush of people coming into work quite yet. In fact some folks are usually here about this time work in yet which is kind of a surprise to me. Be careful there and we should show off Augie Hebert, find here to last get television. The studio is named after him. And, man --

UNDINTIFIED MALE: There are more damages -- this is got to happen earthquake damage. What happen is the whole building shakes and the foundation, especially around wall seams sort of just rips. So, or here you can see these studs where we had the studs come in, they got shook loose.

[14:05:03] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, yes, look at that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right here there'll be a good shot of what happens to the seams around drywall where it sort of just shakes, and sheers, and

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BALDWIN: All right. So all of our -- all the different TV stations in Anchorage have been knocked off the air but, you know, credit to KTVA, they have been up and live on Facebook.

Michael West is with me now, the Alaska state seismologist. And Michael here's what I have, it was a 7.0 magnitude quake, eight aftershocks. Tell me what you have.

MICHAEL WEST, ALASKA STATE SEISMOLOGIST (via phone): So we located this earthquake five to ten miles north of Anchorage. It is about 30 miles below the surface so that's different than what some of your viewers might be thinking of, there isn't necessarily. We're not expecting a singular, you know, big fault line ripping across the surface of the earth.

However, because it's deep, it was felt quite widely. We have--

BALDWIN: How wide, Michael? How far spread?

WEST: We got reports from about 400 miles away--

BALDWIN: Oh wow.

WEST: -- credible reports of feeling the earthquake. Of course, it's much stronger, the ground shaking much, much stronger near the epicenter.

BALDWIN: How often do you guys get earthquakes in Alaska?

WEST: Well, earthquakes are happening all the time at small magnitude, every 12 minutes or so, they're something small. However, earthquakes of this magnitude in a location like this where they actually intersect with population are rare, this is a very, very significant event.

BALDWIN: And lastly as this tsunami warning is out there for the Cooke Inlet in the Southern Kenai Peninsula. Can you tell us about that area?

WEST: Yes. It's a complicated area to try and do a tsunami warning. There's a lot of different inlets and bays that can focus and channel water. It is my understanding that as of now, the NOAA has canceled their tsunami warning for this --

BALDWIN: Got it. Got it. That's good news for folks in that area. Michael West, thank you so much, the Alaska State seismologist.

Nick Watt, is with me now on some of these. As we're looking, Nick, at the damage, I was watching that Facebook -- beyond, you know, -- shattered and, you know, -- newsroom, you see these pictures of highways and bridges damaged.

We don't have Nick Watt. So, Brian Stelter, I'm going to switch on over to you on -- again, you heard Michael say we're talking a second ago of how widespread this is.

BRIAN STELTER, CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Yes.

BALDWIN: It is unique in that. It is you have earthquakes all the time but that it's as severe in such a populated area in Anchorage--

STELTER: Right.

BALDWIN: -- which is quite, you know, newsworthy and that people though could feel it as far as 400 miles.

STELTER: As far away as Fairbanks, 350 miles to the north, also in Anchorage suburbs like Wasilla, lot of damage in Wasilla and areas like that. And we've been seeing people using Facebook and Twitter sharing what they experience because these local TV stations are down, because the radio stations are down. They're posting and sharing information with each other.

A lot of reports of damage within people's homes, glasses shattered, things off shelves. The same thing at stores, we're seeing things knocked of the shelves --

BALDWIN: 8:30--

STELTER: -- the road works, it was still dark there -- come up there in Anchorage. Sun up was around 9:30. So this is happening at night which made it even scarier I think for some residents. They could see transformers going in the distance would, you know, power is out in part but not all of Anchorage and the surrounding area.

Some people posting on Facebook saying, they're having a clean up glass in their homes, having a check for damage. Thankfully though as reporters were mentioning, no reports of fatalities or injuries yet, hopefully that will remain the case, it's only been an hour and a half.

But so far in our reports of fatalities, I think what's most scary from these images we're seeing are these highways and roads that have buckled. And that's the case both in Anchorage and up toward Wasilla, numerous infrastructure problems being reported.

BALDWIN: On that note, Nick Watt, let me go to you because to Brian's point, we see his picture of this car totally stuck after these highways, roadway, whatever it is totally buckled. How widespread is this sort of damage.

NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I mean, we've heard from the Anchorage police department that this is widespread. They say -- and this is a direct quote from the police department, there is major infrastructure damage across Anchorage. Many homes and buildings are damaged.

And Brian just mentioned, Wasilla, there was a tweet, of course, Sarah Palin that just came in a little while ago. And she says, "Our family is in tact, house is not." She is from Wasilla. Since I imagine that's case for many, many others.

Now, we've heard from the school district, from the transportation department, they have people on the ground right now, stand out across the city trying to assess that damage and how bad it has been. But I as I say from the police department, they say multiple buildings damaged.

[14:10:01] But so far, as we say, no report of injuries or fatalities coming in from Anchorage but it is difficult to get that information out of there. And of course, there was the initial quake southern miles outside of Anchorage, then these eight or more aftershocks that can also cause damage.

We have just heard that the tsunami warning that was in place for the Kenai Peninsula in the Cook Inlet that has just been lifted. They say there is now no threat of a destructive tsunami so that's one sliver of good news that we just got in now from Alaska. Brooke, back to you.

BALDWIN: Nick, thank you. As we're seeing these pictures, we're now hearing from folks who've lived through this, who felt it themselves Kristen Dossett is one of those individuals there in her home in Palmer, Alaska. Kristen, I understand you are at home with you 19- year-old, you guys OK?

KRISTEN DOSSETT, RESIDENT, ALASKA: We are just fine, yes. Thank you.

BALDWIN: OK. So what did it feel like?

DOSSETT: I have been here 37 years and that was the most violent earthquake I have ever felt. It was absolutely terrifying.

BALDWIN: Describe it for me. When you say violent, what is that feel like?

DOSSETT: It shook like I have never felt anything shake before. I mean, it was -- it just didn't stop. It just kept going and it got louder and then louder, and then things just fell everywhere. It's just everything off my dressers, off my book cases, my kitchen covers, there's broken glass everywhere, sawdust off the walls, very violent feeling.

BALDWIN: And your husband, he is not home. Is he stuck in traffic? How is he doing?

DOSSETT: He is on his way home from Anchorage. He is stuck in traffic. They had to close one of the main bridges out of Anchorage, s they're routing everybody through the Town of Eagle River back onto the highway because the bridge over the river has been damaged. And then one of the bridges in Peters Creek, the side heading into Anchorage, has collapsed and blocks the road and there are sinkholes on the highway as well.

BALDWIN: So may be a minute, Kristen, your sweet husband come home. When we talk about the 7.0 magnitude quake, you say it's the most violent quake you felt in three-plus decades. We also have been reporting these aftershocks, we have eight reported aftershocks. What have those felt like? How severe?

DOSSETT: They're not real severe. You can hear things rattling noise. When I was on hold with you guys we had two of them. Things just start to rattle and it started to shake a little bit. You get a little scared because you don't know how big it's going to be.

BALDWIN: What does it sound like?

DOSSETT: Like somebody is just shaking everything in your house literally. Your house is just shaking everything, anything and everything rattled. And it's hard to describe. My piano moved a foot-and-a-half away from the wall. And oh there's another after shock right there..

BALDWIN: You just felt an aftershock just now? DOSSETT: Yes. We just had another one. I have a lantern that kind of rattled and every time times there's one, it rattles and makes noise. So yes, it's horrible. It's absolutely horrible.

BALDWIN: And -- wow, and your piano, a foot-and-a-half off the wall. What about the actual quake itself? How long from start to finish did it last?

DOSSETT: You know, I was so terrified I couldn't tell you. It felt like forever. I would say it was probably 15 seconds but it may have been longer. And we have a (inaudible) house and my son was at the other end. He couldn't hear me screaming for him. So I waited until it stopped. And then I ran to the other end of the house to find him and he was OK.

But -- and it was dark, we had lost all power, it's still dark out. Luckily, we turned on our cell phone's flashlights and use that, but, you know, we have our power back now but it was pitch black.

BALDWIN: You do have your power back now, OK got it.

DOSSETT: We do have our power back now.

BALDWIN: That is a good thing. Hang tight I know the directive is to shelter in place. Kristen, thank you so much for hopping on phone with me and then helping us understand those of us who have never been through an earthquake, what it feels like. Kristen Dossett, thank you very much, in Alaska for me.

We are getting dramatic new video from inside these building, so stand by, much more on out special coverage of Alaska on the 7.0 magnitude earthquake next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:18:54] BALDWIN: All right, here's a breaking news. If you're just tuning into us here at CNN, there's been a 7.0 magnitude earthquake right around the Anchorage, Alaska area. But I was talking to the seismologist just moment ago who said, it's been actually felt as far as 400 miles away. The silver lining to all of these, we have no reports of injuries, no reports of fatalities but just quite a bit of damage in and around the Anchorage area.

I was just talking to a woman who said she'd been through, you know, random earthquakes, living in Alaska for 37 years, and she said, absolutely, this was the most violent earthquake she had ever felt.

Let's go now to the Press Secretary over at the White House, who just tweeted out, the White House's acknowledgment of this earthquake.

Sarah Sanders posting this, "The President has been briefed on the earthquake near Anchorage, Alaska and is monitoring damage reports. We are praying for the safety of all Alaskans."

Allison Chinchar is with me, CNN Meteorologist. And, Allison, at least that the tsunami warning has been lifted, but let's focus on this earthquake. Tell me more about what you know and the damage.

ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, you're right. The good news is we had the tsunami warnings that no longer exist.

[14:20:02] The bad news is we are continuing to get more and more of those aftershocks. We're now up to nine aftershocks. Several of those are large aftershocks including 5.7. It was the closest to downtown Anchorage.

Now, when we talk about how many people really felt this particular earthquake, it's quite a lot. And the best way to show is these colors. Where you see the yellow, those people felt strong shaking, and the orange, that indicates very strong, if not severe shaking. And that's likely why we're seeing so much of that damage.

One of the other concerns for this area is what's called the liquefaction, OK? And most of that has to do with the soil composition for these areas. Now, these, if it's hard to see, this right here where my hand is, that is where Anchorage is located, OK? But a little bit farther up from that, you have high areas. But even in downtown, again, a lot of these coastal regions are at a significant area where we have the potential for that liquefaction to take place.

One of the other concerns, flights. We do know that the international airport in Anchorage has issued a ground stop, OK? So no flights are leaving out of that airport as of now. Now, in terms of some of the airplanes coming in, they are still there at that point. They may end up rerouting them.

Again, we don't know that for sure. We just know that no airlines are leaving out of that airport as of now. There is a ground stop. So if you have any travel plans there today, please check with your carrier to make sure that that may actually still be taking place.

Again, we talked about some of the impacts here from this particular earthquake. Again, it was a 7.0 depths of about 40 kilometers. That's about 25 miles, give or take. This again, is the area that felt it. So you can see it goes pretty far out for those people that felt strong, if not very strong shaking.

And, Brooke, one of the other things to note too, we are in what's considered the yellow pager for economic impact. The main concern here is going to be the significant damage area that we had to buildings as well as roadways throughout this area.

BALDWIN: Allison, thank you. I really want to hone in on the Anchorage area.

Philip Peterson was in downtown Anchorage when this earthquake hit right around 8:30 this morning, local time. Philip is on the phone with me now. And Philip, are you doing okay?

PHILIP PETERSON, KTVA AFFILIATE: Yes, I'm fine. A little shook up but I'm feeling better now.

BALDWIN: Understandable. So where were you and what did it feel like?

PETERSON: So I worked in an office building downtown. It's a kind of a mid-rise, 12-story building. And when it started shaking, we kind of right away tell that it was not a small earthquake. So I jumped under my desk and just started like, my heart was beating out of my chest because this is one of the first real earthquakes I've been in since I moved up here.

BALDWIN: One of the first real earthquakes. For people who have never felt it, can you try to describe it for me?

PETERSON: Yes. It feels like everything is shaking. I think it lasts about 45 seconds but that feels like half hour. I mean this got my chest shaking, shaking, shaking. And then it starts to roll a little bit too. And when you're in a high-rise building, it's kind of swaying as well.

BALDWIN: Oh, my gosh.

PETERSON: It's really nerve-wracking

BALDWIN: Oh, my gosh. And we heard about this, you know, about nine aftershocks or the 5.7 aftershock right around at downtown Anchorage area which I'm sure you felt. Are you still in that? Are you still in your office building or have you, have you left?

PETERSON: No, we evacuated the office. So I returned home and I'm sheltered down there now.

BALDWIN: Did you get a chance as you were leaving though, to look around and see how bad the damage is in the downtown Anchorage area?

PETERSON: Yes. So I tried to take a look around there, I was curious. Our buildings took quite a big damage as far as like ceilings, tiles and everything. But structurally, I couldn't tell you how it is.

When, you know, driving through downtown, you couldn't see anything like any -- there's no fires that I could visibly see. And there was not any like collapsed buildings or anything like that. It was catastrophic. I did see some collapsed overpasses on my drive home, which I think people seen pictures of. That looks pretty intense. But other than that, you know, cracks from some of the roadways.

BALDWIN: Philip Peterson, I'm glad you're home and safe, 7.0 magnitude, amazingly so far. I know it's still early but no reports of even any injuries in the Anchorage area or even beyond. Philip, thank you. Take care.

[14:24:35] We're going to take a quick break. Brand new chilling video coming in as police say there is a massive infrastructure damage across the City of Anchorage, Alaska.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) (Inaudible)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROOKE BALDWIN, ANCHOR, CNN: Now these are pictures from inside the Ted Stevens International Airport there in Anchorage just so you can get a sense of what this 7.0 magnitude earthquake felt like. Not just on the road, we've seen that, you know, one roadway totally buckle with the cars stranded. We talked about the local TV stations and now the airports as well. There is a full ground stop, no flight out of Anchorage whatsoever.

Rene Marsh is covering that for us. Rene, just seeing all those people running as the siren is overheard, how frightening.

[14:30:10] RENE MARSH, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Yes, absolutely.