- The Washington Times - Friday, April 13, 2007

ACAPULCO, Mexico (AP) — A strong earthquake shook southern Mexico early today, knocking out power in parts of Mexico City and Acapulco, causing tall buildings to sway and sending frightened people into the streets in their pajamas.

Civil defense officials in Mexico and the Pacific coast state of Guerrero, where the magnitude-6 quake was centered, said there were no reports of any deaths or major damage. One person was injured falling down stairs trying to get to the street. Television video showed fallen ceiling tiles and cracks running through the facades of buildings. City inspectors checked one precariously leaning five-story apartment building, where eight families were evacuated.

The quake, which hit at 12:42 a.m. (1:42 a.m. EDT), was felt strongly from the Pacific coast resort of Acapulco to the mountain capital of Mexico City because it was centered inland — 40 miles northwest of Acapulco and just 18 miles below the earth’s surface, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

Many of Mexico’s earthquakes are centered at sea.

A magnitude-5.4 aftershock was felt throughout much of southern Mexico three hours after the initial quake, and some frightened residents slept in the streets as a precaution.

Mexico City Civil Defense Secretary Miguel Moreno Brizuela said the quake knocked out power to about 20 percent of the homes in the city’s downtown district, and there were reports of outages in parts of Acapulco.

About 100 people from one community near Acapulco were evacuated to a park after a nearby water treatment plant reported a chlorine leak, civil protection official Nadia Vela said.

At the high-rise, beach-side Fairmont Acapulco Princess Hotel, hundreds of guests rushed outside, huddling on deck chairs as security officials used megaphones to urge them to remain calm.

In Mexico City, ambulances could be heard wailing through the streets amid reports that some people had suffered panic attacks. The capital is built on a sandy lake bed that shifts and shimmies, magnifying earthquakes, and many still remember the magnitude-8.1 quake in 1985 that killed some 10,000 people as it leveled parts of Mexico City.

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