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No major injuries reported in 6.4 earthquake in California’s Mojave Desert

Posted: 3:44 PM, Jul 04, 2019
Updated: 2019-07-04 18:59:44-04

UPDATE (3:44 p.m.) – At a press conference Thursday afternoon in Ridgecrest, officials said there had been no reports of major injuries as a result of the 6.4 magnitude earthquake.

Fire officials said the majority of the calls they’re responding to now are for gas leaks.

There was one confirmed structure fire earlier in the day. Firefighters said crews were able to save 50 percent of the home.

The mayor of Ridgecrest has declared a state of emergency and said Governor Gavin Newsom has signed off on it. She said she made the declaration because it’s unknown how many more aftershocks the area will experience and how strong they’ll be, plus it allows the city to seek help from other governmental entities.

City officials said they’re receiving a lot of assistance from neighboring agencies and are confident they have enough resources in place.

The California Highway Patrol said it has checked all of the main highways in the area and Highway 178 did experience a large crack, but that has since been fixed by Caltrans. Interstate 395 also had some debris and large boulders, and those were reportedly cleared within an hour of the quake.

Cracks in the road are seen near Ridgecrest, California. (Photo courtesy Karaleigh Roe)

 

All over-crossings and under-crossings were also reportedly checked with no problems found.

A representative from the China Lake Naval Air Station said the military base had increased personnel and was making damage assessments.


 

UPDATE (1:52 p.m.) – Kern County officials held a press conference Thursday afternoon to update the situation in Ridgecrest following the 6.4 magnitude earthquake.

Fire officials say they’ve responded to two house fires and a grass fire.

So far, only minor injuries have been reported, mostly from broken glass or items that fell during the shaking.

Officials said they were assessing the Lake Isabella dam for any damage.

Posted by Kern County Fire Department on Thursday, July 4, 2019


 

UPDATE (12:56 p.m.) – Ridgecrest Mayor Peggy Breeden says firefighters are working to put out five fires in the area following an earthquake but she didn’t know if any injuries have been reported.

Breeden tells CNN utility workers are assessing broken gas lines and turning off gas where necessary.

Breeden says the local senior center was holding a Fourth of July event when the quake hit. She says everyone made it out shaken up but without injuries.

The 6.4 magnitude quake struck at 10:33 a.m. Thursday in the Mojave Desert, about 150 miles northeast of Los Angeles, near Ridgecrest. It is the strongest quake to hit the region in 20 years.

Seismologist Lucy Jones says a series of aftershocks were occurring and that at least one of them was a 4.3 magnitude temblor. She expects more throughout the day.


 

UPDATE (12:16 p.m.) – The Kern County Fire Department reports that evacuations are underway at the Ridgecrest Regional Hospital following Thursday’s earthquake.


 

UPDATE (12:13 p.m.) – Veteran seismologist Lucy Jones says the earthquake Thursday was the strongest to hit the area in 20 years.

She says the previous large quake was a 7.1 that struck near Barstow on October 16, 1999.

Jones told reporters at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena that the 6.4 quake centered in the Mojave Desert near the town of Ridgecrest was preceded by a magnitude 4.3 temblor about a half hour earlier.

She says there was a vigorous aftershock sequence occurring and that she wouldn’t be surprised if a magnitude 5 quake occurred during the aftershocks.

There were reports of at least one house fire in Ridgecrest.


 

UPDATE (12:06 p.m.) – Danny Yuang took this video of the water sloshing around in the pool at his home in Lake Balboa during the 6.4 earthquake in Ridgecrest:


 

UPDATE (11:32 a.m.) – The Kern County Fire Department says it is responding to nearly two dozen incidents following the earthquake. Those calls reportedly range from medical assistance to structure fires in and around the city of Ridgecrest.

The Kern County Fire Department says it is sending search and rescue teams to the town of 28,000 people.

A video on Twitter shows some of the damage in Ridgecrest:


 

UPDATE (11:15 a.m.) – The 6.4 magnitude earthquake that hit Southern California Thursday morning was located about 150 miles northeast of Los Angeles but was felt there as a long, rolling quake, making buildings rock back and forth for at least several seconds.

The quake was centered near Ridgecrest in the Searles Valley.

Diane Ruggiero, general manager of the Hampton Inn and Suites Ridgecrest in Ridgecrest, told CNN’s Paul Vercammen that the hotel has significant damage.

“The chandeliers are still swinging,” she said five minutes after the quake hit. “The floor rippled.”


 

(10:49 a.m.) – The USGS is reporting a 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck at about 10:33 a.m. Thursday near Ridgecrest.

The quake was felt across a wide area of Central and Southern California.

Multiple aftershocks between 3.5 and 4.2 have rattled the area since the 6.4 quake.

There are no immediate reports of damage.

This is a developing story and will be updated with new information as it becomes available.