Eagle River man lucky to be alive after earthquake collapses his home
After an earthquake shook southcentral Alaska, one Eagle River man says he's lucky to be alive.
Logan Cushman was alone, his husband Rick Walburn had already gone to work. When the earthquake struck, he was inside their home on Dome Circle when it collapsed around him.
"The bed started jumping, all of a sudden it just went to another level,” said Cushman. “It felt like I was being hit by a bus or some kind a plane. It felt like something had crashed into the side of the house and that was when the house had actually fallen off the frame."
He said all of the exits were blocked, trapping him and his pets inside.
"I was like, I've got to get out of here. I know this isn't safe. I could hear the gas flowing and there was no power... I was just running around trying to find a way out, and thank God I was able to get that open," Cushman said, motioning to the front door situated across a gap where the foundation fell. "It only opened a couple inches, maybe 8 inches, and I was able to climb out on top of the steps right there."
He was able to get his two dogs out of the front door as well. He threw his smaller dog Dolly and his neighbor helped him carry his golden retriever mix Sasha. Then, Cushman lept over the gaping hole.
The couple's cat was still inside, but eventually they were able to coax out it to safety.
Now that the dust has settled, Cushman and Walburn are left without a home.
“It's completely destroyed. There's no way it can be repaired,” Walburn said.
Walburn had just finished doing physical training on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson when the quake struck. He called his husband right after the quake. When Cushman told him “the house is sideways,” Walburn thought he was being dramatic.
“I can’t imagine what he went through looking at this house,” Walburn said. “It’s terrifying something could have happened. I’m just very thankful.”
All of their belongings, including a car in the garage, are stuck inside what was once a two-story home. Home inspectors determined the building unsafe and have ordered no one enter the property, so the likelihood of the couple salvaging their personal items is low.
With the house in ruins, they are just happy to be alive.
"It definitely made me think more about my life,” Cushman said. “You don't really know if you're gonna get out of here not, so definitely don't take your life for granted because if I was anywhere else in this house, it would've been a completely different."
Even though they are left with nothing, and insurance won't come close to covering everything they lost, the two say they are OK.
“We're not worried about us at all,” Walburn said. “We are being taken care of very well by the Alaskans. Everyone keeps calling us Alaskans.”
Cushman’s employer, Starbucks, has helped them get into a hotel and they've also received help from the military as well. The couple said their rental company, RPM, has been extremely helpful in trying to help them find a new home and waiving any fees associated with moving.
There has also been a gofundme.com fundraiser set up for the homeowners as well.
Cushman and Walburn plan to head home to South Carolina soon to be with family while they figure out what to do next.
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