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Millions in California, Arizona, Mexico feel 7.2 quake

One of the strongest earthquakes to hit Southern California in decades shook tens of millions of people in two countries and three states Sunday, swaying buildings from Los Angeles to Phoenix to Las Vegas. At least one person in Mexico was killed and others were feared trapped in their homes.

The 7.2-magnitude quake struck at 3:40 p.m. Los Angeles time, about 20 miles southeast of the border city of Mexicali, Mexico, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Three aftershocks of 5.1, 4.5 and 4.3 followed within the hour.

Baja California state Civil Protection Director Alfredo Escobedo said a man was killed when his home collapsed just outside of Mexicali. Rescue teams with dogs and digging equipment were rushing to the city from nearby Tijuana.

The parking garage at Mexicali's city hall collapsed, Escobedo said, but no one there was hurt.

In Calexico, Calif., Fire Chief Peter Mercado told KABC-TV of Los Angeles there was structural damage and broken windows in an older section of town, as well as leaking gas lines and damage to the water system, but that no one was hurt.

There also were scattered reports of stuck elevators in California and Mexico.

The main quake was initially reported as 6.9. The updated magnitude was still an estimate, but if it holds it would be California's largest temblor since the 7.3 Landers quake hit in 1992, USGS seismologist Lucy Jones said.

Millions in California, Arizona, Mexico feel 7.2 quake 04/04/10 [Last modified: Sunday, April 4, 2010 11:18pm]
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