Mexican store owner in Burien reflects on Mexico City earthquake

BURIEN, Wash. – Two massive earthquakes have ripped through two Mexican cities just 12 days apart.  The more recent quake, a 7.1 magnitude, rocked the Mexico City area.

The impact from the earthquakes are being felt all the way in Western Washington.

Under the rubble, a child emerges as rescuers search the ruins of several schools that collapsed during the latest quake.

“Just when we were going to run down part of the building collapsed and everything was dust and we couldn’t see anything,” said one schoolgirl.

As we watch those images on TV, Enrique Martinez tries to keep his store up and running in Burien with his thoughts and prayers back in his home country with all of his extended family in Mexico City.

“My family is inside the city, downtown, but not affected physically or materially.  They haven’t suffered injury or harm, only emotionally,” said Martinez in Spanish.

It’s that emotional toll that he says he can feel more than 2,800 miles away in Burien.

“I’m not worried but it was shocking because of all the destruction and to see the affected families,” said Martinez.

For Enrique, the faces we see emerging from the rubble could be family members of friends.  He says he knows his people are resilient and will stop at nothing to help one another.

“I ran out of my house and I fell down and then I got up and I feel so panicked…her mother ran to that student and rushed to my granddaughter with a shovel and bucket. We run with my husband and my son in laws and my daughters to help at that school,” said Gema Gurino.

Despite his optimism, Enrique says these disasters are becoming too familiar.

“Everyone is affected physically and mentally because the story is the reality.  Times are changing,” said Martinez.

The Mexican Consulate of Seattle has set up two phone lines for people with questions about the earthquake 855-463-6395.  The U.S. State Department released this number 888-407-4747 for inquiries about Americans visiting Mexico.  The Mexican Consulate of Seattle is encouraging people to help earthquake victims through the Red Cross.