Teresa Blakeslee-Edwards, a paralegal in the state attorney general's office who had arrived early to work Tuesday morning, said she was in the Brady Building's hallway when she heard a boom.
"I felt it and heard it," she said. "The whole building shook."
"I thought it was a dumpster truck picking up a dumpster and hitting the building," she said.
She was on the fifth floor -- one floor above the area where a small plane clipped the building. She went to make a sure a co-worker was safe.
The co-worker called 911. Blakeslee-Edwards hurried outside to see if someone had been hurt and needed help, she said.
Perhaps 30 yards away, she saw a long trail of flames extending across the parking lot behind the building.
"When I saw it was an airplane on fire, I didn't dare get any closer," she said.
In the blaze's glow, she was able to make out plane debris, including the wheel from the yoke of a plane. She realized the damage was so severe there could be no survivors.
"I'm keeping the pilot and his family in my prayers," she said, her voice breaking. "It was really obvious there was someone in the debris, among the flames."
Firemen arrived swiftly, in less than three minutes, she said.
"The flames reached backward to our building and it was like, 'Oh, this is not good.' I went up and told co-workers, 'Oh, we should get out of here,'" she said.
It was fortunate the crash happened when it did, since the plane landed in an area commonly crossed by pedestrians later in the day, she said.
"If it had happened any later, it could have been a lot worse," she said.
Alaska Dispatch Publishing