Ridgecrest 1 Year Later: a look back at the 4th of July earthquakes

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One year ago, over the Fourth of July weekend, Southern California was hit with two of the strongest earthquakes in the state’s history.

Many thought the worst of the damage was done after the magnitude 6.4, but a magnitude 7.1 followed. The epicenter was just miles from Ridgecrest, about city 110 miles east of Bakersfield.

“Shock, terror, fear, not knowing if we were going to make it out, if it was going to stop,” recalled Ridgecrest resident, April Hamil.

Fortunately, there were no major injuries to report.

“Any time that we can go through a 7.1 earthquake and not report a fatality, I want to say that’s a blessing and a miracle,” said Kern County Fire Batallion Chief, Dionisio Mitchell during a press conference.

However, the structural damage cut deep. There were several reports of house fires, and more than a thousand people were without power at one point. Dozens were also displaced from their homes.

“We have at least five trailers that have been knocked off the foundations that are on the ground,” said a resident of Trousdale Estates, a mobile home park.

To top it all off, the aftershocks were continuous.

During a public town hall, Ridgecrest Police Chief Jed Mclaughlin said, “PTSD is a real thing, and we’re all suffering from it right now.”

Governor Gavin Newsom came down to survey the damage, saying during a press conference: “California is committed to rebuilding.”

Now, one year later, the earthquakes might be a faint memory to some. However, for others, the trauma still remains, and recovery will be slow and steady.

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