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Los Angeles area jolted by earthquake

March 11, 2013 |  1:27 pm

Holly Lawson was working in a campground kiosk at Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, about 60 miles south of the epicenter of Monday's earthquake, when the windows in her tiny kiosk began to rattle.

The rolling rumble lasted about six seconds, she said, and she could see a man outside in his truck as it swayed back and forth.

"The truck was actually physically moving," Lawson said.

A San Diego native, she had already guessed the temblor's magnitude by the time the shaking stopped.

"I'm always concerned about these windows when we feel a quake," she said. "We're surrounded by them."

Lawson, who lives in Anza, near the quake's epicenter, got a call from her teenage son soon after, who reported there had been a loud, sudden crack of sound before the shaking began. Their home, which is a manufactured house, had experienced small cracks after a similar earthquake about a year ago, and Monday she told her son to search for damage to the walls, water lines and propane lines.

Meanwhile, campers in nearby RVs came one by one to ask if that had, indeed, been an earthquake "or if they were just going crazy," said Lawson.

Mary Ann McKennon, a volunteer camp host and Idaho native, said she didn't know what was going on at first.

"My first thought was that we've been having some funky winds, and sometimes they blow pretty hard," she said. Soon she saw the truck outside rocking, too.

"I didn't like it at all," said McKennon, who has worked on and off at the campsite for 6 years. "Do you ever get used to them?"

Although some lifelong Southern Californians didn't bat an eye at Monday's quake, it was a different story for Minnesota transplant Shannon Haber. Even though she's lived here since 1996, Haber said, she definitely has not gotten used to earthquakes.

“I was just a little frightened,” Haber said. “There was small shaking and it made me nervous because I’m 23 floors up.”

Haber was working in Los Angeles Unified School District headquarters in Westlake when the earthquake shook at 9:56 a.m. more than 100 miles away in Anza in Riverside County. The shaking was the biggest and longest-lasting she could remember.

“It was a slow, swaying motion,” she said. “It sort of felt like I was on a boat, a sort of wavy feeling that lasted 10 to 20 seconds. … No one else reacted around me. They’re all veterans of earthquakes.”

In Anza, about 10 customers had sat down to a late breakfast at a Diner 371 when the quake struck about 20 miles away.

Nothing was broken and no one was hurt, said Diner 371 waitress Michelle Padaron, 30, who was stocking tables with napkins when the quake struck.

After four seconds of shaking, customers quickly returned to their meals of burgers, burritos and eggs, Padaron said.

 "Everyone just kind of looked up, then looked at each other, and that was it," Padaron said.


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