New Zealand quake shakes up local concern

A former Vernon resident scrambled for cover as a deadly earthquake rocked New Zealand’s second largest city.

Vernon native Erin Marshall and her fiance Matt Black live in Christchurch

Vernon native Erin Marshall and her fiance Matt Black live in Christchurch

A former Vernon resident scrambled for cover as a deadly earthquake rocked New Zealand’s second largest city.

Erin Marshall, a 1995 Fulton grad, was working in her office at the University of Canterbury when a 6.3 magnitude earthquake hit Christchurch Monday.

“She texted me two minutes after the quake to say she was safe. It hit and she got under her desk,” said mom Liz Frank.

As of press time, the earthquake had killed about 65 people.

Once the shaking subsided, Marshall immediately left the university, where she teaches English, and drove to her home in nearby New Brighton, where she operates a guest house with her fiance.

“Everything was out of the cupboards and dishes were broken,” said Frank, who managed to speak briefly to her daughter by phone.

“There were cracks in the wall and cracks in the road outside of their place. There’s no power and no water.”

None of Marshall’s guests were injured during the disaster.

“Everyone pitched in to clean up and spirits are high,” Marshall said in a text. “We’re really safe in our little house.”

Because of the extensive damage in the city, communications have been difficult.

“I never heard anything for two hours. I couldn’t get a hold of anyone,” said Frank, who admits that she was starting to get worried about her daughter’s safety.

“I made a mistake and started reading about buildings coming down and people trapped, and who knows another one could have hit while she was heading home.”

Marshall’s sister, Lisa VanderVelde, was also desperate for news.

“I was worried she got caught up in some rubble,” said VanderVelde.

Despite two major earthquakes in the last eight months, Marshall has no plans to leave the city she has lived in since 2008.

“She really loves Christchurch,” said Frank.