WESTMORLAND, Calif. — Broken windows were replaced, crumbled walls shored up and frayed nerves eased on Wednesday as border residents set about cleaning up more than $4 million in damage done by two strong earthquakes that occurred within 12 hours of each other.
"We're more or less back to normal, whatever that means," Calexico Police Cmdr. Torivio Flores said of the reaction to the quakes that struck Monday evening and Tuesday morning.
The Imperial County towns of El Centro, Westmorland and Calexico and the Mexican border city of Mexicali were hardest hit by the temblors.
A preliminary estimate of the damage to public and private buildings in Imperial County was set at $4 million, said George Neves, a spokesman for the Imperial County Office of Emergency Services.
Meanwhile, Arturo Guerra Flores, director of the Baja California state civil protection unit, denied a report from the Red Cross in Mexico that a woman and a child ran out of a Mexicali factory in panic during the second quake and were struck and killed by a car.
"We have received no reports of deaths," Guerra said.
The quakes did result in the condemnation of five Mexicali buildings, including four that make up the Monte Alban condominium complex downtown. The complex's 600 inhabitants were relocated because the buildings are unsafe and will be razed, Guerra said.
Mexicali engineer Enrique Hernandez said groups of inspectors were fanning out across the city to inspect at least 100 buildings.
The U.S. port of entry at Calexico remained closed Wednesday. The main building sustained cracked walls and support pillars, but pedestrians and vehicles were still able to cross on an alternate route adjacent to the building, Flores said.