Mexico City earthquake leaves many in Tucson worried about loved ones

Mexico City earthquake leaves many in Tucson worried about loved ones

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - The deadly earthquake in Mexico City has left many in Tucson worried about their loved ones on Tuesday night.

Tucson News Now talked to a local man whose mother lives in Mexico City. She's lived there for the past ten years and made it through several small quakes but nothing to this magnitude.

"She felt the shaking and some of the paintings fell off the walls, glasses broke," Colin Deeds, Assistant Director for the University of Arizona's Center for Latin American Studies said.

On the 4th floor of her apartment in the heart of Mexico City, Colin Deeds mother, Susan, felt the earthquake hit. Tucson News Now was in Colin's office as he called her. She recounts those terrifying moments.

"It started with the up and down motion, which is the more scary one and then it went to the swaying from side to side," Susan Deeds said.

Susan said she grabbed her earthquake "go bag" by the door, with clothes and important documents and ran down the stairs as the ground shook.

"I really could not walk without holding on to something," Susan Deeds said.

"She made it out to the street, but then right away there was an overwhelming gas smell so they moved them three blocks further away for a full hour," Colin Deeds said.

The 7.1 earthquake caused a nearby gas line to rupture and they had to evacuate. She said dust billowed up from the collapsing buildings as thousands ran into the streets. Here in Tucson, the University of Arizona closely monitors their seismic sensors that picked up the quake from more than 1,300 miles away.

"The shaking in Tucson lasted about 600 seconds," UA Professor of Geosciences, Susan Beck said.

Professor of GeoSciences, Susan Beck, said while they cannot predict when an earthquake will hit, this data and helps cities sound the alarm at the first sign of ground movement.

"You might have ten seconds, you might have 30 seconds – depending on how far away you are before the damaging waves come. You can do a lot of emergency things in that time like open up doors for first responders and shut down elevators, shut down trains," Beck said.

Colin's mom heard Mexico City sound the alarms. While she's able to return to her apartment on Tuesday night, she realizes so many others are not as fortunate, and hopes the city can come together to rebuild in the weeks ahead.

"Really I was very lucky," Susan Deeds said.

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