Churches closed in central Italy town after quakes

Churches were closed and two temporary structures erected to house spooked citizens in the town of Sora near Rome today after three quakes shook central Italy, sparking panic but causing little damage.

A 4.8-magnitude quake which struck Frosinone between the capital and the southern city of Naples at a depth of 10.7 kilometres, saw people race into the streets and shook apartment buildings in the centre of Rome.

The 10-second quake at 21OO GMT yesterday was followed by two smaller tremors
overnight near Frosinone and the town of L'Aquila in the Abruzzo region.

L'Aquila was hit in 2009 by a 6.3-magnitude quake which killed 309 people.

A 63-year-old woman in the town of Isola del Liri near Sora suffered a heart attack during the first quake and died in hospital, Italian media reports said.

Italy's fire brigade said there were no injuries or serious damage to houses, although one building in Sora has been temporarily declared off limits.

Churches were closed in the town while checks were carried out and two tent structures were erected to house residents scared to return to their homes.

"It is a horrid experience. Everything fell over in the houses, picture frames, books," the town's mayor Ernesto Tersigni told La Repubblica newspaper.

"We have put up two structures with heating to shelter those who do not want to return home. Many have taken shelter in their cars," he said.

Yesterday, three Italian builders and a technician were found guilty of multiple manslaughter after a dormitory they had restored and safety approved collapsed during the 2009 L'Aquila quake, killing eight students.

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