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Southland Quake Damages Apartment Building

(KFWB) 9.10.01, 6:35a --

Some apartment units at a Westwood apartment complex remained off limits this morning after a magnitude 4.2 earthquake Sunday that caused moderate damage to the building.

A third-story, glass corner window collapsed outward and down to the street below at the Kelton Towers, on the 1300 block of South Kelton Avenue. No one was injured.

Inspectors are working to determine if the building is safe. Some of the building's 40 units have been reoccupied since all residents were evacuated in the first hours following the quake. But others remain off limits with red and yellow tags marking them as unsafe for habitation.

Fire officials reported that nearby buildings within the same block also suffered minor damage such as cracked wall facades and fallen ceiling tiles.

Officials estimate some 10 million people felt the quake at 4.59pm yesterday about one mile south-southeast of West Hollywood in the Miracle Mile area.

The quake was shallow, centered about 2.3 miles below the ground. KFWB's Jack Popejoy reports that the quake's shallow depth and its location in the Western Los Angeles area -- produced an almost "jello-like" basin effect and contributed to its widespread impact.

Scientists could not identify a specific fault, because of the shallowness of the quake. However, they say it occurred south of the well-known Santa Monica-Hollywood thrust fault.

Other damage from the quake was relatively minor -- such as items knocked off shelves and leaking water heaters. A broken water pipe was reported at a Savon drug store at the corner of Rodeo Drive and La Brea Ave. Car alarms were triggered in the Western Los Angeles area.

There were three aftershocks: M2.8 at 5:01, M2.0 at 5:06, and a M1.8 aftershock 2 miles south-southeast of Century City at 5:25pm.

Dr. Lucy Jones, Scientist-in-Charge at the Pasadena office of the U.S. Geological Survey, tells KFWB that an earthquake of magnitude 4.2 is likely to produce an aftershock as big as magnitude 3 in the immediate hours and days following the quake.

"We want to ensure that this is not a foreshock," Jim Wells, a spokesperson for L.A. City Fire, told KFWB. Chances were one in 20 that a larger quake would follow, Wells said. Odds lessened as more time elapsed from when the initial earthquake hit.

In downtown Los Angeles, the quake rolled for about four seconds and also shook suburban areas including Van Nuys, Whittier, Glendale -- and as far away as Lancaster, which is 70 miles from downtown.

(Personal Note: I was on the road and missed the whole thing)

-- PHO (, September 10, 2001

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