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Mexicali quake forces U.S. officials to close northbound border in Calexico

April 5, 2010 |  7:42 am

The northbound border into Calexico, Calif., from Mexicali, Mexico, remained closed Monday morning because of concerns about damage to the U.S. federal building, but people continued to stream into the U.S. on foot as aftershocks rattled the region.

A day after a 7.2 earthquake struck the Mexican border town of Mexicali, residents on both sides of the country line remained jittery. Although cars were prohibited from crossing north, people walked over the border to flee Mexicali.

Traffic was slow Monday morning along westbound Interstate 8 in El Centro as Caltrans checked for problems on the freeway that may have been caused by the earthquake.

Meantime, a steady stream of cars drove south into Mexicali as residents attempted to check on their loved ones. Phones in Mexico were not working.

In Calexico, downtown merchants could be seen sweeping broken glass and fallen plaster away from their storefronts and covering walkways. Many buildings were red-tagged until officials could inspect them further.

Calexico police patrolled the downtown area overnight to watch for looting, but none occurred.

An aftershock hit about 4:12 a.m., causing a chorus of car alarms to go off all over town, and the cacophony continued for hours.

Although Calexico has electricity and water, residents of Mexicali and surrounding areas were not so fortunate. 

-- Tony Perry in Calexico, Calif.

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