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Ridgecrest Hospital Evacuated, Several Minor Injuries Reported After Magnitude 6.4 Earthquake

Parts of a hospital in Ridgecrest were evacuated after a magnitude 6.4 earthquake shook the region Thursday, the Kern County Fire Department said.

Fire officials said 15 people were transported from the Ridgecrest Regional Hospital on 1081 N. China Lake Blvd. after the temblor hit at 10:33 a.m. in Searles Valley, about 11 miles east northeast of Ridgecrest.

The hospital is a full-service acute care hospital, according to its website.

There was some structural damage at the hospital, including leaking sprinklers, a fire battalion chief said at an afternoon news conference. A building inspector was examining the damage.

Those who were evacuated were sheltering in place under shaded awnings and trees, while the 15 emergency room patients were taken to the Palmdale-Lancaster area.

There was no estimate on how many people total were evacuated from the hospital.

Seismologist Lucy Jones of Caltech said that Ridgecrest, a small city of about 29,000, was particularly hard hit. The earthquake appears to have involved two different fault lines, Jones said.

Multiple minor injuries were reported across Ridgecrest, some related to broken glass and fallen shelves, Kern County Fire Chief David Witt said.

Officials saw scattered fires, downed power lines and big cracks in different roadways, Witt said. A large crack on Highway 178 near Trona was filled in by Caltrans crews within about an hour, a California Highway Patrol commander said.

An emergency evacuation center was set up at the Kerr McGee Center on 100 W. California Ave., according to the Ridgecrest Police Department.

The Kern County Fire Department reported responding to nearly two dozen incidents, including structure fires an calls for medical assistance, officials said.

Firefighters continue to inspect critical infrastructures like highway passes through area canyons, officials said.

One home was engulfed in flames in Ridgecrest following the quake, video showed. Fifty percent of the home was saved, the battalion chief said.

The Ridgecrest fairgrounds were being set up to support residents who lost power.

No major injuries were reported, the battalion chief said.

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