Phoenix man speaks, following earthquake that was felt in Mexico City

As Florida braces for Hurricane Irma, a monstrous earthquake rattles Mexico.

The 8.1 magnitude quake is one of the strongest to ever hit the region. It happened late Thursdayt night, and as of Friday, some 60 people were killed. The epicenter was on the Pacific coast of Mexico, near the Guatemalan border, but the quake could be felt 600 miles away, in Mexico City.

A Phoenix man had just arrived in Mexico City, when the earthquake happened, and he said it was something he's never seen or heard before.

Valley native Pierce Mettler has been planning a two-year adventure for some time, and Mexico City was his first stop on the list. The trip was not even two days in, and Mettler was enjoying dinner with friends when he suddenly became alarmed.

"Here locally, it was probably like 10 o'clock at night, and had some food and had some drinks," said Mettler. "It was a little before midnight and the sirens went off, and it was a noise I never heard before."

Everyone ran outside and gathered all together, quickly after the ground started to rumble.

"The buildings started to swing back and forth, the tree," said Mettler. "This was, like, a total of 45 seconds after the alarm had first sounded and started hearing loud cracking noises from the trees."

The earthquake lasted no more than 60 seconds from where Mettler was.

"Once it finished, no one really knew what to do," said Mettler. "We all stood put, and people started to get a little rowdy, and some people were yelling 'tranquilo, tranquilo', everyone relax."

Mettler says the people in the neighborhood where he is staying are grateful to be alive.

"Everyone is just counting their blessings," said Mettler. "No fatalities due to the earthquake in Mexico City. Unfortunately, that's not the case closer to the epicenter. I think that attitude is that everyone is pretty grateful right now."

At least 55 people are dead, with those reports coming from Oaxaca and Chiapas. Mettler said the warning system was crucial, and if it wasn't for the alarms, the outcome could have been a lot worse.