Former Milford couple safe after quake

MILFORD – Two wellknown former residents who moved to Ecuador last year were spared most of the effects of the earthquake that killed hundreds of people last weekend.

At a magnitude of 7.8, it was Ecuador’s strongest earthquake in decades, devastating coastal areas, injuring thousands and leaving thousands homeless. Last year, retired Milford Police Capt. Chris Nervik and his wife, Johanna Johnson, retired head of the Milford School District’s special education department, moved to Cotacachi, a town of 9,000 in the Andes Mountains. Cotacachi, north of the capital of Quito, is inland from the Pacific coastal areas heavily hit by the earthquake Saturday night.

In an email, Nervik said the quake hit about 106 miles from their home and shook their house.

"We got out of our house with the pups and waited outside," he said. "While out there, we could still feel the earth moving.

"It was quite an experience. We’ve had small ones, but nothing this big. Lasted for quite a while." Nervik sent a video of their swinging chandeliers, which were still swinging when they returned to the house. There was "no damage to the house, but our paintings and pictures all moved," he said. "Other than that, we are in good shape."

News reports on Tuesday confirmed more than 400 dead.