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Residents near epicenter rolled with the earthquake

The walls vibrated. The china cabinet clattered. And Karina Hernandez’s visiting 86-year-old grandmother screamed.

“She really got scared,” Hernandez said Monday, the day after a magnitude 4.7 earthquake shook her home on the border of Inglewood and Lennox.

The randomness of earthquakes is one of the great unknowns that come with living in Southern California. And Sunday night, a 12-unit apartment building on South Prairie Avenue inhabited mostly by Latino immigrants became the epicenter of a quake felt far and wide.

The temblor startled residents, but they rolled with it, and life quickly got back to normal.

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“The quake was here, but it could have been another place,” Hernandez, 29, said. “It’s not like it’s always going to be here.”

Hernandez’s sentiments echo those of the other residents of the peach-colored building on the Newport-Inglewood fault, which seismologists suspect was the source of the quake. Daniel Taiano, 33, said he was sitting on his living room couch Sunday watching TV when he experienced a violent jolt, followed by 10 to 15 seconds of shaking and an aftershock. He said he wasn’t frightened, just curious about the source. As for realizing he had signed a lease six months ago for a place in the bull’s-eye of Sunday’s quake, he shrugged.

“We’re all vulnerable,” Taiano said. “Pretty much anywhere you go in Southern California you’re stuck with it. It’s the risk you take.”

After the quake, Taiano and his neighbors stood outside on the walkway above the carport to talk to one another. Taiano said people were startled but reported only minor incidents, such as pictures falling off walls. At the time, nobody knew they were sitting on a fault line.

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Aurelio Cornejo, 41, the apartment manager, said he’s received no reports of damage. But that doesn’t surprise him. It’s a good building, he assured, and he’s been happy to call it home for two decades.

Besides, Cornejo still vividly remembers the “Big One”: the 6.7 magnitude Northridge earthquake in 1994, during which he saw buildings sway and pavement ripple. That one felt more intense, he said, and its epicenter was miles away in Reseda.

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corina.knoll@latimes.com

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