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Breaking News

An Estimated 25 Injured in Major Seattle Earthquake

Aired February 28, 2001 - 7:30 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening. I'm Bill Hemmer live at the CNN Center in Atlanta. "CROSSFIRE" is coming up next, but first, I want to bring you the very latest that we have on the Seattle earthquake. Washington Governor Gary Locke has declared a state of emergency. With a magnitude of 6.8, it hit the Seattle area about 5 1/2 hours ago and the force was felt as far away as Portland, Oregon to the south.

Here's a look at what the scene was like this morning at Seattle's Westin Hotel. You'll see that in a moment, as Microsoft founder Bill Gates was addressing an education and technology conference when that quake hit. We do understand, though, inside this conference room, everyone inside indeed got out safely. Around the Seattle area, minor damage reports so far. Officials estimate as many as 25 people were injured, though. However, no deaths have been reported.

Joining us now live from Seattle tonight, CNN's Katharine Barrett. She has been there throughout the entire day and ordeal. Katharine, what's happening now?

KATHARINE BARRETT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Bill, things seem to be returning somewhat to normal here. There is still traffic on the streets. We're seeing fewer fire engines and aid units which had been running around probably carry inspectors to some of those injury calls. Things, as I said, seem somewhat like normal.

But certainly many office workers are not in their offices in these buildings. Some of the buildings were evacuated and building inspectors are taking a closer look at foundations and supports to make sure that there is no damage that is invisible to the naked eye.

Again, to the naked eye, not a lot of damage to the major buildings and skyscrapers or bridges and highways here around the immediate Seattle area, but it certainly came as a shock to residents here. Nothing of this magnitude has been felt for at least 50 years.

One resident though that it was a bomb going off. There was an initial sort of a boom before the real shaking and shuddering started. Another horse rancher I spoke to thought that there was a mountain lion loose in his horse corral because about three seconds before the earthquake, his horses start freaking out and trying to jump the fence.

And again, it was something that residents here have not experienced in a very, very long time.

(CROSSTALK)

HEMMER: All right, Katharine Barrett in Seattle. Katharine, thanks to you.

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