Residents of southwestern Puerto Rico were on edge when they went to bed on the night of Jan. 6. The ground had shaken hundreds of times over the past 10 days in what seismologists describe as a rare earthquake storm, a series of tremblors not tied to a single event.
In the early morning hours, the big one hit. An earthquake with a 6.4 magnitude struck just off the southern coast, waking Orlando Rodriguez at 4:24 a.m. on that Tuesday morning. A 6.0 aftershock struck hours later. Rodriguez’s first priority was to ensure the safety of his family. Then, the CEO of Caribe Coop, based in nearby Guayanilla, checked on work.
“Initially, I visually inspected the cooperative through the security cameras,” Rodriguez says. “In the afternoon, key personnel and I visited the facilities to review the damage. At a simple view, we didn’t see any damage.”
But as Rodriguez and others soon discovered, this was only the beginning.
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