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Quake Jolts Lake Tahoe

Residents in the northern Lake Tahoe region were jolted awake by a magnitude-5.3 earthquake early Friday that broke glass and knocked pictures off walls.

No injuries or major damage were reported, officials said.

The quake hit at 1:54 a.m. PST about five miles northeast of Kings Beach on the California-Nevada border and was followed by a magnitude-3.0 aftershock, said Waverly Person, a geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey's National Earthquake Information Center in Golden, Colorado.

The moderate temblor was felt as far away as Reno, Nevada, about 30 miles northeast of Kings Beach.

"I was almost knocked off my feet and had to catch myself," said Sgt. John Giovannini of the Placer County Sheriff's Department's North Lake Tahoe substation.

Giovannini was at an accident scene in Kings Beach with other emergency personnel when the earthquake hit.

"It lasted about a second," he said. "Another deputy looked up and saw light poles swaying. We saw some items strewn about in stores. A rash of burglar alarms went off. Dogs were barking. This was a pretty good one for Lake Tahoe."

Noreen Arnold, a cashier at the 7-Eleven store in Kings Beach, said some items fell off the shelves but nothing was broken.

"It was shaky. It was scary. It was noisy," Arnold said. "I thought something hit the building. When this one was going, I was going, `What the hell is that?' Then I realized it's got to be an earthquake."

The Placer County Sheriff's substation in Tahoe City was swamped with calls from residents for about 30 minutes, said dispatcher Kim Bromley.

Robin Jewell, a dispatcher at the Nevada County Sheriff's Department substation in Truckee, said they had reports of glass breaking at some homes, but received no reports of injuries.

"It rattled our cage, that's for sure," Jewell said. "One woman called and said her 55-gallon fish tank had only about 3 gallons left in it. Some people said pictures fell off the wall."

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