Newsday: Quake awakens memories of 9/11 for some

Newsday  –  by Will Van Sant

For a few spooky seconds Tuesday as buildings shook around them, the fears of some East Coast residents turned to terrorism and the coming 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Accountant Adrian Ollivierre — like many workers across New York City — fled to the street from his 60th floor office in the Empire State Building when the quake struck.

"I thought I was having maybe a heart attack, and I saw everybody running," Ollivierre said. "I think what it is, is the paranoia that happens from 9/11, and that's why I'm still out here — because, I'm sorry, I'm not playing with my life."

Sharon Jones, an administrative assistant at The Cardinal Cooke Catholic Center on First Avenue, said that just like on Sept. 11, she could not reach her husband by cellphone and she was worried about terrorism.

"Something just didn't feel right," said Jones, 44.

Others in New York City interviewed by Newsday said the quake was no big deal at all.

Davaughan Lucas, 27, an actor visiting from Detroit, was walking on Park Avenue when he felt the sidewalk vibrate and heard glass breaking at a restaurant.

"For a brief second, I thought about Sept. 11, but then the atmosphere was definitely not the type you'd expect. . . . People were calm. And I said, 'Oh, wow, we just had an earthquake in New York City,' " Lucas said.

In a Virginia suburb near Washington, closer to the epicenter of the magnitude 5.8 earthquake, there was some anxiety when the earth shook.

Todd Kinard, the host at Harry's Smokehouse restaurant in a mall just a few blocks from the Pentagon, said when the earthquake hit: "It was crazy, crazy. I thought it was a terrorist attack — that was the first thing that came to my mind."

Kinard said he thought of the terrorism possibility because of the location of his restaurant near one site of the 9/11 attacks nearly 10 years ago. He said his second thought was to simply get out of the place.

"You thought about terrorists, and you just went outside," said Kinard, 34.

Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford), who was working at his Massapequa Park office, listened as his top aide in Washington told him by phone that his office was shaking.

King, who chairs the House Homeland Security Committee, said his aide seemed "all shook up" and his first thought was that an explosion had gone off in Washington.

Then King said his chair began to roll across the floor and his own office started to shake.

"I figured it must be an earthquake," King said.