Sunday, February 28, 2010


Due to recent events I'm not going to write about the last planned topic...

Chile is situated along a seismic zone, so earthquakes happen frequently, in different parts of the territory. I had experienced strong earthquakes before, so I am always ready with an emergency lamp and a transistor radio.

Last Friday was a horrible day. In the morning, I was fired "due to the company's necessities" --a eufemism to fire an employee who has done work well, but he/she is unwanted.
Could things get worse? I went to sleep thinking in a positive way, but my dreams were very short...
At 3:30 am, my wife woke me up. I noticed the shaking, still with my eyes closed, but I thought "it's just a small quake, it will be gone quickly". But it didn't stop. The quake increased in intensity, and objects like glass, plates and books started to fall and break. Electric power went out and intensity increased again. I tried to stay calm, but my wife was very frightened. We have never experienced an earthquake in an apartment building before.

When the quake finished, I went for my portable emergency lamp, because I couldn't see anything and there were a lot of objects broken on the floor (glass and ceramic stuff). I checked the apartment and I didn't see structural damage.
Outside the apartment, in the corridor, people were screaming. I opened the door and saw a panicked scene, people were going to the stairs, trying to reach the ground floor (I live on the 3rd floor and the building has eleven). My first reaction was to stay inside, but then, I smelled an odor of gas in the corridor (the quake caused damage to the pipelines) and I thought we were in a high risk of gas explosions --and fire. In some apartments, the frames in the entrance doors were deformed and people inside couldn't go out and suffered panic attacks due to the gas leak, so other residents kicked and broke the blocked doors.
Fortunately the janitor cut off the main gas supply quickly and the blast danger vanished.
We stayed outside between one and two hours. Then the electric power was restored, and we returned to the apartment and stayed there. I couldn't sleep again until the next night. I called my mother and family (phone lines were not affected). Thank God all were fine and safe.


  1. I don't even know what to say.

    Wow. Canada has horrible snow but at least I don't think there has ever been an earthquake (even in BC).

    It's good to hear that people noticed the other people's doors wouldn't open (how did they know?).

    I have experienced panic attacks and they are beyond horrible but I've never experienced a danger like a gas leak so it had to be even worse for them.

    Finally, let me not forget to say sorry about the job - one thing about having the earthquake on the same night is it does put things in perspective. I'm sure you'll get a job soon.

    Take care. Best of wishes, Carmen

  2. Man I thought I was having a bad week. I hope all turns out well. Is the apartment building okay?

    Our thoughts and prayers are with you from the USA.

    Best regards

  3. Carmen: because some young neighbors from the upper floors noticed first the leak and warned the other residents knocking at their entrance doors.

    The building resisted well the quake. I didn't see structural damage. Thank you Cmac.