LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Ecuatoriano in Lawndale is a local hub for the Ecuadorian-American community, known for serving ceviche and other Ecuadorian delicacies.

On Sunday, the atmosphere at the restaurant was filled with worry for loved ones after a magnitude 7.8 earthquake killed at least 246 and injured at least 1,500 others in the South American country early Sunday.

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Isaac Salazar, an employee of the restaurant, said he hasn’t heard from some of his loved ones, including a cousin. Other families members checked in to say they were “safe” on Facebook.

“I haven’t heard anything from these people, yet,” he said.

Employees and patrons alike expressed their fears and concerns to CBS2’s Greg Mills Sunday.

Ecuador native Johanna Aragon had a restless night.

“Everybody in my family, thank God, is okay,” she said.

Another employee, Guillermo Osejo, was on the phone with his sister when the earthquake hit.

“She felt it really big,” he said. “A lot of screaming and running up and down.”

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Gabriela Mosquera, who was born in Ecuador, said she was deeply affected.

“It’s our place,” she said. “Our people.”

She heard terrifying tales from back home.

“Buildings fall down, everybody was screaming and the kids were crying,” Mosquera said.

And following the major quakes in Japan and Ecuador, others were concerned that California could be next.

“It’s pretty scary, cause it can happen here too in Southern California. We’re waiting for the big one. You know it’s coming,” said Salazar.


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