22 December 2003

Quake With 6.5 Magnitude Strikes California Coast

Quake With 6.5 Magnitude Strikes California Coast : "(Update4)

Dec. 22 (Bloomberg) -- A 6.5-magnitude earthquake struck the central California coast, causing three deaths, injuries and fires near the epicenter in San Simeon, home of Hearst Castle. The temblor swayed buildings as far away as San Francisco and Los Angeles.

The quake at 11:15 a.m. California time was centered about six miles from San Simeon and about 250 miles northwest of Los Angeles, the U.S. Geological Survey said on its Web site. Stronger aftershocks may be felt, Ross Stein, a physicist for the agency, said at a news conference.

``We just have a typical magnitude 6.5 earthquake, which has fortunately occurred far from populated areas,'' Stein said.

Three people were killed when a clock tower collapsed in Paso Robles, 30 miles east of San Simeon, said Greg Renick, a spokesman for the state Office of Emergency Services. A building collapse in Paso Robles, which has a population of 26,000, left some people trapped, said Sergeant Bob Adams of the Paso Robles Police Department. A hospital was damaged and two people were injured at a winery around San Luis Obispo, 42 miles from San Simeon, CNBC reported.

``It felt like a wave -- it was kind of like a rolling feeling,'' said Shannan Hudnall, 20, a front-desk clerk at the Pismo Lighthouse Suites in Pismo Beach, California, a resort town in San Luis Obispo County. ``Everything wiggled around and just rattled.''

Airports, Roads, Businesses

The quake lasted about 30 seconds. Larger airports reported no delays, and authorities said major roads and bridges were fine. Intel Corp., Cisco Systems Inc., Royal Dutch Petroleum Co. and other companies with operations in the state reported no damage."

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