ANCHORAGE (KTUU) — 151 people, including 46 families, are still displaced following the magnitude 7 earthquake that shook Anchorage on Nov. 30. The Soonagrook family is one of those many families looking for a new home now.
"All l did was kneel down and pray," Virgil Soonagrook said. "It felt like 15-20 minutes but it only happened like 3 or 4 minutes. It felt long."
Sally and Virgil Soonagrook were asleep in their fifth floor apartment in Spenard when the ground started shaking. Although the building itself didn't suffer much damage, it's the fear that's keeping them from going back.
"My wife didn't want to go back because this was her first big experience with an earthquake and she didn't want to go back to the fifth floor," Virgil said. "I tried asking to see if they had a lower unit available, and they were pretty tight with it."
They're now searching for a new place to stay, but in the meantime, they've turned to the Salvation Army's McKinnell House for shelter along with four other families who can't return to their homes.
"When we came here, there were other people like us who felt insecure, but talking with them and talking with the staff here, we felt like we were being needed and they were supporting us, and we were supporting them back," Virgil explained.
And now, as the Soonagrook's look to the future, the family is reflecting on how this experience has made them stronger.
"We're closer," Virgil said. "We've been very close to each other but it's a lot stronger."