One State Department official who asked not to be named told Government Executive he was in a meeting in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building when the quake hit.
"The room basically started rolling and all the military guys [in the meeting] jumped on the table," he said, "and all us civilians said 'Oh boy, that seems like a good idea.' And at that point people started yelling 'Evacuate the building!' and they brought us down to the street."
After leaving the executive office building, the official walked back to the State Department, where people were just beginning to re-enter around 2:40 p.m.
"It reminded me a lot of 9/11 in D.C.," he said, "with everyone out in the streets. It's the first time since then that I've seen masses of people on the street like on 9/11."