Earthquake measured at 4.4 felt around Southern California

by in News

An earthquake Tuesday night was felt throughout Los Angeles and Orange counties and the Inland Empire.

Caltech’s Southern California Earthquake Data Center said the quake at 7:33 p.m. was measured at 4.4 on the Richter scale and was centered about 3 miles north of La Verne. The U.S. Geological Survey said it was about 3.7 miles deep.

An aftershock or a second quake, with a magnitude of 3.4, was measured in the same area at 7:34 p.m., USGS data showed.

No damage or injuries were immediately reported.

“La Verne residents may have felt an earthquake and several aftershocks in the last 30 minutes,” the La Verne Police Department said in a statement. “At this time there have been no reports of damage and no injuries. Officers are continuing to patrol the city.”

An earthquake of 4.4 magnitude is not capable of causing damage to buildings, noted seismologist Lucy Jones told TV station KCAL/9.

At Grub Burger Bar in Whittier, Hugo and Carmen Gutierrez were munching on onion rings and watching the Dodgers game when the sharp jolt rattled the building off Whittier Boulevard and sent hanging light bulbs gently swaying.

The couple immediately called their daughter, Maya, who attends a private boarding school in Claremont, closer to the reported epicenter.

“She said she felt it hit very hard,” Carmen Gutierrez said. While their daughter took the quake in stride, she said, the girl told her mother that other youths at the school that hosts many international students had never felt an earthquake before and scrambled hurriedly down stairs to get outside.

A Starbucks barista in Ontario, who only provided her first name Jess, said she felt the quake and saw customers react.

“Nothing inside fell over,” she said. “We’ve had worse definitely.”

“I thought it was a big-rig driving by,” said a customer, Nicole. “But the vibrations didn’t stop and it just continued for five seconds.”

The Los Angeles Fire Department was in “Earthquake Mode” as a precaution.

Ontario police said there were no reports of damage or injuries, and advised “Please do not call 911 unless you have a life-threatening emergency.”

Fire officials in the city of Riverside and officials at the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said there were no immediate reports of injuries or damage; and key Orange County public safety agencies said shortly after the quake that they had not received calls about it.

The USGS said the quake was most strongly felt in La Verne, Upland, Covina, San Dimas, Claremont, Azusa, Pomona, Walnut, Ontario, Rancho Cucamonga and Chino.

Residents throughout Orange and Los Angeles counties reported the quake to the USGS.

People reported feeling it as far north as Ridgecrest in Kern County; as far south as San Diego; as far east as Indio and as far west as Camarillo in Ventura County.

Reporters Mark Evans and Robert Gundran contributed to this story.