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Alaska News

Anchorage fire chief: How to look for serious structural damage at home

  • Author: Devin Kelly
  • Updated: December 2, 2018
  • Published December 1, 2018

A home in Eagle River is badly damaged Saturday morning, Dec. 1, 2018. The house, which was partly built on fill, suffered severe problems during a strong earthquake that shook southcentral Alaska on Friday. (Loren Holmes / ADN)

Anchorage fire officials were urging residents to walk through homes and check for damages In the wake of Friday morning’s earthquake – and evacuate if there’s any sign of serious structural damage.

Small cracks in sheetrock are probably OK, said Anchorage fire chief Jodie Hettrick.

But here are signs of a potentially bigger problem:

• A crack that you can look through to the outside.

• Windows and doors that no longer open.

• Standing outside and seeing the whole house listing right or left, or it doesn’t look square.

Any of those situations may be a sign the house isn’t safe to occupy, Hettrick said. She suggested evacuating in response to big cracks or shifting.

But it wasn’t exactly clear who residents should call to get a formal safety assessment. Hettrick said Friday the city has been focused on evaluating municipal structures and public facilities.

A friend or family member who is a general contractor would be a good place to start, Hettrick said.

She said the fire department hoped to have more information out soon.

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