Local News Producer Experiences Mexico Earthquake Firsthand


We continue our coverage of the deadly earthquake in Mexico City. The death toll is rising, with reports stating at least 225 people are now dead.

The 7.1 magnitude earthquake hit Tuesday afternoon 75 miles outside of Mexico City near Puebla. The quake has left cities in the States of Morelo, Mexico and Puebla covered in rubble.

One of our very own producers was in Mexico City on vacation when the ground shook. We were able to speak with her via Facetime on Wednesday and she said she is doing well and she is safe. She was able to give us an insight into the destruction in Mexico City. Ornelas said she has never experienced anything like it. Even growing up in California, she said she’s never felt an earthquake so strong.

“It stopped shaking maybe like, after a minute I want to say,” Ornelas described the earthquake. She said she was in a car driving to a museum when the earthquake hit.

Ornelas said she never thought she’d find herself in the middle of a news story.

She stated, “I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. It was just so unexpected, came out of no where.”

Ornelas said the quake felt violent, but the images around the city were even more upsetting.

“Their products were broken, like plates, cups, like glass and marble like things like that. All the things that they were selling, they were broken, shattered to the ground,” said Ornelas.

Fresno State geology professor Christoper Pluhar said the quake hit dozens of kilometers under the earth’s surface. But, because of how Mexico City is formed, it made for the perfect storm for ultimate wreckage.

Pluhar said, “Mexico City is in a bowl, in basically a valley that is filled with lake sediments, and when the seismic waves come from underneath into that material, it’s not very well consolidated. It amplifies the seismic waves.”

Ornelas said the power was out in the city for hours after the quake. She wasn’t able to charge her phone, and said it was stressful not having a way to communicate with family. But, she said staying safe was most important.

“I feel bad in a way, because I get to go home. All of my stuff, it’s whatever, nothing like, I’m gonna be okay. But all of these people, they don’t have anywhere else to go. This is their home,” ended Ornelas.

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