Mark Swircenski decided to head into work a little later than usual Friday morning. He was on the phone with a friend when the walls of his Alaska home suddenly rattled.
“The house was just shaking violently, just like a freight train,” Swircenski says. “I just said ‘Holy cow! Holy cow! Holy cow! I’ve got to go check on my wife.’ Of course, my language was a little bit more colorful than that.”
Swircenski ran upstairs as large furniture tumbled around him, blocking the door to a bedroom where his wife was trapped.
“My wife was on the floor and a bureau that she had along the side of her bed had fallen on top of her,” Swircenski recalls. “So, she had to lift that off.”
Mark and Judy Swircenski live about 15 minutes north of Anchorage. They are the parents of Spectrum News Anchor JoDee Kenney, who anxiously waited for updates in New York as her father struggled to get a cell phone signal.
With no power or heat, the couple quickly hunkered down under a desk in the basement, waiting for the rumbling to stop….waiting to see the aftermath.
The damage is extensive. Swircenski says his insurance coverage for earthquakes won’t kick in until he pays about 10% of the cost out-of-pocket. He’s prepared to shell out roughly $20,000, though it’s too early to know for sure.
Mrs. Swircenski is shaken and bruised, but expected to be okay.
As they begin the cleanup, there are little blessings in the debris…a 43-year-old gift from an aunt that survived and a Bob Ross painting that fell intact.
Each discovery offers a little clarity after the scariest morning of their lives.
“We’ve been here in Alaska for 30 years and this was the most violent earthquake we’ve ever had,” Swircenski adds.