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‘It Was Anarchy’: Major Earthquake Strikes Alaska Roads ripped up, buildings cracked all over Anchorage

A powerful earthquake rocked Anchorage, Alaska, Friday morning, prompting a tsunami warning that was later canceled.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the 7 magnitude tremor struck about 10 miles north of Anchorage at 8:29 a.m. local time (12:29 p.m. EST) Friday morning. A 5.8 magnitude aftershock struck minutes later. Dozens of aftershocks continued to rattle the area throughout the rest of the day.

“It was anarchy,” Brandon Slaton, who just moved to Kenai from Arizona, told the Associated Press. “There’s no pictures left on the walls, there’s no power, there’s no fish tank left. Everything that’s not tied down is broke.”

Social media images and videos showed cracked and collapsed roads, as well as cracks in the walls of buildings.

At least one serious injury was reported in the town of Houston, Alaska, about 28 miles north of Anchorage. The Anchorage Daily News reported that a homeowner suffered serious burns while fighting a fire caused by the earthquake. Hospitals in Anchorage and the Matanuska-Susitna Borough said they were treating cuts and broken bones.

“There is major infrastructure damage across Anchorage,” the Anchorage Police Department said in a release. “Many homes and buildings are damaged. Many roads and bridges are closed.”

“We just hung onto each other. You couldn’t even stand,” Sheila Bailey, who was working at a high school cafeteria in Palmer when the quake struck, told AP. “It sounded and felt like the school was breaking apart.”

Shortly after the temblor, the U.S. Tsunami Warning Center issued a tsunami warning for areas near the epicenter and urged residents to seek higher ground. The warning did not extend to other parts of the U.S. West Coast or Hawaii. More than an hour after the warning was issued, it was canceled and no tsunami was observed.

“At Anchorage Daily News in Midtown, it sent cracks up walls, damaged ceiling panels and flung items off desks and walls, including a computer monitor and a fire extinguisher,” said the newspaper in its report.

Local news station KTUU-TV broadcast live on Facebook with updates after they were knocked off the air by the earthquake. The quake cut power to thousands in and around Anchorage in the hours that followed.

At Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, all flights were halted for several hours and the airport tower was evacuated, according to the AP. Some flights were diverted to Kodiak during the closure, the report added.

Anchorage Daily News reported that portions of the Glenn Highway were closed after a sinkhole opened alongside the roadway. Eagle River Bridge over the highway was also closed. The Seward Highway also closed for several hours because of a rockslide.