Magnitude 5.1 earthquake hits Los Angeles, California

No immediate reports of serious injuries or significant damage

A magnitude 5.1 earthquake shook the Los Angeles area on Friday evening but there were no reports of deaths or serious damage.

It struck shortly after 9pm local time and was centred near Brea in Orange County, California, the US Geological Survey (USGS) said.

Tom Connolly, who lives in La Mirada, said the quake lasted for about 30 seconds.

“We felt a really good jolt. It was a long rumble and it just didn't feel like it would end,” he added.

“Right in the beginning it shook really hard, so it was a little unnerving. People got quiet and started bracing themselves by holding on to each other. It was a little scary.”

The epicentre was about about 20 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles at a depth of about 5 miles.

People felt tremors as far south as San Diego and as far north as Ventura County and broken glass, gas leaks, water main breaks and a rockslide were reported near the epicentre.

Rides in Disneyland California were stopped for a short time as a precaution.

A caller to radio station KNX-AM said he was in the lobby of a cinema in Brea when the quake struck.

“A lot of the glass in the place shook like crazy,” he said. “It started like a roll and then it started shaking like crazy. Everybody ran outside, hugging each other in the streets.”

Brick walls reportedly collapsed and water was seen sloshing in swimming pools while wires and trees swayed back and forth

Bottles and tins were shaken off shop shelves and eyewitness photos and videos show wreckage strewn over floors.

Police said the rockslide in the Carbon Canyon area caused a car to overturn, injuring the people inside.

Fire crews and safety authorities were inspecting bridges, dams, railway tracks and other structures for signs of damage.

An electricity company said about 2,000 customers were left without power following the quake.

More than 24 aftershocks ranging from magnitudes 2 to 3.6 were recorded, according to the USGS.

Earlier in the evening, two foreshocks registering at magnitude 3.6 and magnitude 2.1 hit nearby in the city of La Habra.

Friday's quake hit a week after a pre-dawn magnitude 4.4 tremor centred in the San Fernando Valley shook a swathe of Southern California. It caused no significant damage.

Southern California has not experienced a fatal earthquake since the 1994 magnitude 6.7 Northridge quake killed several dozen people and caused $25 billion of damage.

Preliminary findings suggest Friday night earthquake occurred near the Puente Hills thrust fault, which stretches from the San Gabriel Valley to downtown Los Angeles.

Additional reporting by Associated Press

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