Family reflects on 1964 earthquake

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (WDTV)-- March 27, 1964. Good Friday. A day the Statler family will never forget.

Memories of that tragic day resurfaced, on Friday, after a 7.0 earthquake rocked Anchorage, Alaska.

Seeing all the destruction sparked the memories of one family who lived through the most powerful earthquake, on record in the U.S., which was also in Alaska. The Good Friday Earthquake.

"Everything was going in every direction. The pictures off the wall came down and rested on the wall itself. The drawers in the house, every one of them was open, but none of them had come all the way out," said Susan Statler.

James Statler who was in the air force when the 1964 earthquake rumbled through the town, says he simply wanted to know if his family was okay.

"It was about 24 hours before I found out how the family was and that they were all okay," said James.

As they go through newspaper after newspaper it reminds them of the 9.2 magnitude earthquake that left a path of despair.

"Fourth avenue, at the time, the buildings were all underground and then JC Penney's was all collapsed," said James.

Their house also didn't go unscathed.

"The floor had dropped down from the foundation," said James.

Their children were young at the time, but the scary moment left its mark.

"I remember it scared me to death," said the son, Roger Statler.

The Statlers say the '64 earthquake helped spare a lot of damage this time around. Stricter building codes were enforced right after. Ones they wished were in place while they hurried to protect the kids.

"We just put our arms around them and sat there. I think we prayed," said Susan.

The tears never drying up, even after all of these years.

"I still get emotional about it and especially with this latest one," said Susan.

The Statler family says they know all too well how people are feeling in Anchorage and they hope their story can help them cope.

According to Forbes more than alert levels are still high in Alaska and more than 1,000 aftershocks were recorded over the last couple of days.