Alaska earthquakes rattle former Jonesboro residents’ nerves

Alaska earthquakes rattle former Jonesboro residents’ nerves
Patty and Michael Bilbrey live in Clam Gulch, AK. (Source: Patty Bilbrey)

ANCHORAGE, AK (KAIT) - Patty Bilbrey grew up in Marianna and made Jonesboro home for a while with her husband and two boys in 2008, but a job offer took her husband, Michael, to Alaska for the first time.

The family moved back to Arkansas, and then returned to Alaska where they now reside in Clam Gulch.

Earthquakes are not new to she and her husband, but the magnitude of the first tremor around 8:34 a.m. Alaska Standard Time Friday was definitely different.

“This one went on forever, it seemed like,” Bilbrey said. “I think someone said that it lasted a minute and a half to two minutes. It sure felt longer than that.”

Bilbrey works as an ICU nurse at Central Peninsula Hospital. The facility did not sustain damage. But, many hospitals in Anchorage did.

“We’re about three hours from Anchorage,” Bilbrey said. “One of the hospitals there had reported a floor collapsed.”

Getting news is a bit of a challenge right now as the earthquake damaged the very TV stations that Alaskans turn to for information.

“I don’t have any news network,” Bilbrey said. “Because they have got power outages and that’s where all of our news comes from. I’ve just been kind of watching the news or the Weather Channel.”

Bilbrey’s husband had already left for work as a bus driver. She says he is semi-retired.

“We are here on the Kenai Peninsula and the Kenai Walmart Supercenter… things were knocked off,” Bilbrey said.

The Bilbrey’s have one son in Alaska and one son in Arkansas.

Both are grown now and the couple has one grandson.

They wanted to make sure that family in the South knew they are alright and were just a bit rattled by the day’s events.

“I have had people tell me who have lived here all of their life that this is the worst one that they have ever felt,” Bilbrey said.

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