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5.1 Earthquake Strikes Los Angeles, Forces Evacuations

March 29, 2014

A moderately strong earthquake hit the Los Angeles area Friday night, sparking rock slides, overturning cars and causing thousands to lose power.

The magnitude-5.1 struck at about 9:09 p.m. and was centered near Brea in Orange County — about 20 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles — at a depth of about 4.7 miles, according to the United States Geological Survey.  It was felt as far south as San Diego and as far north as Ventura County, according to citizen responses collected online by the USGS.

Following the quake, Southern California Edison reported power outages to nearly 2,000 customers.

The quake forced several dozen people in one community out of their homes after firefighters discovered foundation problems that made the buildings unsafe to enter, authorities said Saturday.

Fire crews red-tagged 20 apartment units in a building in the Orange County city of Fullerton after finding a major foundation crack. Structural woes, including broken chimneys and leaning, were uncovered in half a dozen single-family houses, which were also deemed unsafe to occupy until building inspectors clear the structures. The damage displaced 83 residents.

The event also triggered a rockslide that closed Carbon Canyon Road in northern Orange County near the center of the quake, the California Highway Patrol and Brea police reported. The rockslide caused a car to overturn, and the people inside the car sustained minor injuries.

Seven water leaks, including a broken water main in Fullerton, were attributed to the earthquake, the Orange County Register reported. Up to 50 people have been displaced due to housing damage.

Eyewitness photos and videos show bottles and packages strewn on store floors.

The quake was preceded about an hour earlier by a magnitude-3.6 quake and was followed by several small quakes that also reached magnitude-3.6 in about the same area, according to the USGS website.

Public safety officials said crews were inspecting bridges, dams, rail tracks and other infrastructure systems for signs of damage.

Callers to KNX-AM reported seeing a brick wall collapse, water sloshing in a swimming pool and wires and trees swaying back and forth. One caller said he was in a movie theater lobby in Brea when the quake struck.

"A lot of the glass in the place shook like crazy," he said. "It started like a roll and then it started shaking like crazy. Everybody ran outside, hugging each other in the streets."

Disneyland canceled its fireworks show because of the quake, and stopped rides as a precaution, according to The Wall Street Journal. Disney said the park wasn't closed, but that people were leaving voluntarily.

Hall of Fame announcer Vin Scully was on the air calling the Angels-Dodgers exhibition game in the sixth inning at Dodger Stadium.

"A little tremor here in the ballpark. I'm not sure if the folks felt it, but we certainly felt it here in press box row," Scully said. "A tremor and only that, thank goodness."

Tom Connolly, a Boeing employee who lives in La Mirada, the next town over from La Habra, said the magnitude-5.1 quake lasted about 30 seconds.

"We felt a really good jolt. It was a long rumble and it just didn't feel like it would end," he told The Associated Press by phone. "Right in the beginning it shook really hard, so it was a little unnerving. People got quiet and started bracing themselves by holding on to each other. It was a little scary."

Friday's quake hit a week after a pre-dawn magnitude-4.4 quake centered in the San Fernando Valley rattled a swath of Southern California. That jolt shook buildings and rattled nerves, but did not cause significant damage.

Below are some photos of the earthquake from social media.

MORE: Deadliest Earthquakes 1990-2013

India: Sept. 29, 1993

India: Sept. 29, 1993

The first of two of the top-10 deadliest earthquakes of the last 25 years that occurred in India was a 6.2 temblor that killed 9,748, according to the USGS. (DOUGLAS E. CURRAN/AFP/Getty Images)

  • India: Sept. 29, 1993
  • Turkey: Aug. 17, 1999
  • India: Jan. 26, 2001
  • Japan: March 11, 2011
  • Southeastern Iran: Dec. 26, 2003
  • Iran: June 20, 1990
  • Pakistan: Oct. 8, 2005
  • Eastern Sichuan, China: May 12, 2008
  • Northern Sumatra: Dec. 26, 2004
  • Haiti Earthquake: Jan. 12, 2010

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