Kern Fire chief expresses concern over aftershocks, says damage being estimated, no deaths reported

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BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Kern County Fire Chief David Witt said a total of 200 firefighters, from local and outside agencies, are in Ridgecrest providing aid following Friday night’s earthquake.

All fire stations are staffed, Witt said during a press conference Saturday morning. The concern now is over aftershocks and where they’ll strike, he said.

Dozens of aftershocks, a number of which were magnitude 4.5 or higher, have already been reported.

“As a county as a whole, there is no damage outside of Ridgecrest as of yet,” Witt said during the conference in front of the county’s emergency operations center in northeast Bakersfield.

There are no known fatalities, he said.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has completed an initial inspection of Isabella Dam and discovered no issues, Witt said. A more detailed inspection is ongoing.

The chief urged motorists to stay off Highway 178 through the canyon, and to stay away from the Ridgecrest area. While there are no “major problems” at this time, Witt said there are cracks in roads. Water and gas lines are being examined.

“We have got ahead of the curve out in Ridgecrest,” Witt said.

Friday’s magnitude 7.1 quake 10 miles outside of Ridgecrest was the most powerful to hit the region in 20 years. It came about 34 hours after a magnitude 6.4 quake.

A press conference in Ridgecrest is scheduled to begin between 10 to 10:30 a.m.

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