RIDGECREST, Calif. (KGET) — A magnitude 6.4 earthquake Thursday morning left thousands without power, caused several fires and resulted in the evacuation of Ridgecrest Regional Hospital and several apartment buildings.
The quake struck at 10:33 a.m. about 11 miles northeast of Ridgecrest, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
It was felt in Bakersfield minutes later, where shaking lasted several seconds. Reports also came in of the quake being felt in Los Angeles, San Diego and Las Vegas.
The quake was followed by dozens of smaller ones in the area, according to the survey’s website.
Between 10 to 20 minor injuries from cuts or falls were reported, police said.
Kern County firefighters said around 11 a.m. they were handling a couple dozen incidents ranging from structure fires to medical assistance in and around Ridgecrest. Urban search and rescue teams were also responding.
“Surveys still continue to inspect critical infrastructure including safety of highway passes through area canyons,” firefighters said.
Firefighters later said a survey of Highway 178 through the canyon showed it to be clear.
Ridgecrest Regional Hospital and a few apartment buildings were evacuated. Southern California Edison reported about 6,000 customers were without power.
Temporary shelters have been set up in Ridgecrest at the Walmart at 201 E. Bowman Road and the Kerr McGee Center at 100 W. California Ave.
Sheriff’s officials said deputies were assisting Ridgecrest police and firefighters, and a helicopter was en route to assess the area.
California City police were urging residents to stay off their phones and free up lines for emergency use only.
Supervisor Mick Gleason said he spoke with Ridgecrest Mayor Peggy Breeden after the quake. Things on the ground are “OK,” she told him, and emergency response crews from various agencies were conducting building checks and checking for injuries.
Congressman Kevin McCarthy tweeted he was working with state and local officials to assess the damage and provide any support and resources that are needed.
“THANK YOU to the many first responders who are already on the scene,” McCarthy wrote.
President Donald Trump said he was briefed on the quake.
“Been fully briefed on earthquake in Southern California,” he tweeted. “All seems to be very much under control!”
The USGS said the region of eastern California where the quake occurred has had numerous temblors of moderate size.
In the past 40 years, eight other earthquakes of a magnitude of 5.0 or greater have occurred within 31 miles of Thursday’s quake, according to USGS. The largest was a magnitude 5.8 temblor on Sept. 20, 1995, that occurred about eight miles west-northwest of Thursday’s quake.
Thousands of people took to social media in the minutes following the quake.
“Felt that here in Ventura,” wrote Tim Connor on Facebook. “My buddy’s truck was shaking while we were leaning on it.”
“Felt it here in Vegas, pendulum in grandfather clock bouncing off sides, patio sliding door swaying,” wrote Julie Graff Dehner. “Yep, it must have been strong.”
And Sharyl Cox Dennison, a Ridgecrest resident, said, “That was the worst one I have felt.”
Following are tips from Ready.gov on how to stay safe after an earthquake hits:
- Expect aftershocks to follow.
- Check yourself for injury and provide assistance to others if you have training.
- If in a damaged building, go outside and quickly move away from the building.
- Do not enter damaged buildings.
- If you are trapped, cover your mouth. Send a text, bang on a pipe or wall, or use a whistle instead of shouting so that rescuers can locate you.
- Save phone calls for emergencies.
- Once safe, monitor local news reports via battery operated radio, TV, social media, and cell phone text alerts for emergency information and instructions.
- Use extreme caution during post-disaster clean-up of buildings and around debris. Do not attempt to remove heavy debris by yourself and wear protective clothing, including a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, work gloves and sturdy, thick-soled shoes during clean-up.