Oklahomans Recount Their Experience After Massive Earthquake In Puerto Rico

Tuesday, January 7th 2020, 5:52 pm
By: Amber Gerard

At least one person is dead after a 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck in Puerto Rico. The story hits close to home as several Oklahomans including a sheriff are in the U.S. Territory.

The group’s mission was to help clean up Hurricane Maria's damage from three years ago. That all changed after the earthquake.

The earthquake hit Puerto Rico about an hour and a half from San Juan, where the Bryant family and 15 others, including Pawnee County Sheriff, Mike Waters are staying.

“At 4:40 this morning the whole hotel started shaking, the beds started shaking, the ceiling sounded like we were having a hailstorm and it lasted several seconds,” said Kellie Bryant.

In mere seconds buildings were turned into rubble and the territory's largest power plant damaged.

“There’s a handful of hotels and the hospitals and the airport is running on generators also,” said Pawnee County Sheriff Mike Waters.

The Bryants are no strangers to earthquakes.

“It seems that earthquakes follow me everywhere I go,” said United Community Action Program CEO Johnny Bryant.

The 5.8 magnitude earthquake in 2016 destroyed their home in Pawnee.

The group is attending a United Community Action Program convention.

“We try to have some influence and some impact on these disaster towns to give them some kind of income using their hotels,” said Bryant.

With their flight back to Oklahoma scheduled for Friday it looks as though they will be holed up in their hotel rooms for a while.

“We’ve been on hotel arrest all day because you can’t leave the hotel. There are no stoplights that work. Not a single thing is open,” said the Bryants.

Although they are unable to return home, the group said they are more concerned for the people who call Puerto Rico home.