Seattle Hit with 6.8-Magnitude Quake

March 1, 2001

A serious earthquake rolled through Seattle yesterday at 10:54 a.m., lasting for 40 seconds and registering 6.8 on the Richter scale. Although reports are still coming in, estimated damage is easily into billions of dollars. No fatalities were reported, but over 200 people were injured, many by bricks and other debris falling from older buildings. One woman suffered a fatal heart attack following the quake.

The quake reportedly cracked the dome of Olympia’s capitol building and caused power outages in the area. Thousands of people were sent home from work. Washington State Governor Gary Locke declared a state of emergency, and President Bush promised federal assistance if needed. Gov. Locke was one of many left homeless—the Governor’s Mansion was damaged considerably during the earthquake.

The city, which is located on the Juan de Fuca fault, had not experienced a major quake since 1965 when a 6.5 temblor shook things up. Seattle residents got a taste of what many Californians have nightmares of: “It was the scariest thing I’ve ever been through,” said Sue Bassett, a resident of Snohomish. “The ground started rolling, the chandelier started going side to side, and everything was moving.”

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