No Major Injuries, Fatalities Reported as Officials Survey Damage Following Magnitude 7.1 Quake

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There have been no reports of fatalities or serious injuries Saturday following the magnitude 7.1 quake that created fires, rockslides, road closures, power outages, and damaged homes and roadways in the Ridgecrest and Trona region, authorities said. There were several reports of minor to moderate injuries, mostly as a result of objects falling on people, the director of the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, Mark Ghilarducci, said. Damage was not as extensive as expected following the tremor, according to Ghilarducci. “We do feel like there is damage but we don’t know the extent of it yet,” Kern County fire Chief David Witt said. “Nobody was trapped, no major collapses that we know of. But we’re out there searching.” Local supermarkets were operational again, giving community members access to supplies as they continue to clean up the damage, authorities said.
A crack is seen on Highway 178 in Trona on July 6, 2019.(Credit: RMG News)
A crack is seen on Highway 178 in Trona on July 6, 2019.(Credit: RMG News)
The earthquake struck roughly 10 and a half miles from Ridgecrest at about 8:19 p.m., and with outages, things quickly went dark as first responders tried to survey the aftermath. The following day, officials were working to determine how much damage the quake caused. The power returned to almost all of Ridgecrest Friday morning, but Trona was still experiencing significant outages up until about 12 p.m., Ghilarducci and fire officials said. At least 50 structures in the small town of Trona sustained damage, the Associated Press reported, citing fire officials. Helicopters from state and local agencies were scanning the area—some using thermo-imaging to look for gas leaks, others looking for cracks in buildings and roadways. On the ground, some California Highway Patrol officers were escorting big rigs carrying supplies to Ridgecrest and Trona, and others were patrolling government facilities to see if offices can reopen for business Monday, a CHP spokesman said.
A home in Trona that sustained damage following a magnitude 7.1 earthquake is seen on July 6, 2019. (Credit: RMG News)
A home in Trona that sustained damage following a magnitude 7.1 earthquake is seen on July 6, 2019. (Credit: RMG News)
The earthquake on Friday created a rockslide that closed down Highway 178 after the roadway sustained significant damage. Crews worked throughout the night to patch up the cracks, which were located near the other cracks found following Thursday’s magnitude 6.4 tremor. State routes 190 and 127 also had rockslides, according to David Kim of the California State Transportation Agency. All roadways were repaired and reopened by early morning, Kim said. The road closure after the quake temporarily cut off Trona, which needed water bottles, according to police. Fire officials still urged residents to avoid Highway 178, if possible. As of 11 a.m. Friday morning, there were still no reports of major structural damage, Ghilarducci said. Most damage has been non-structural, like broken glass.
A crack is seen in a roadway in Trona on July 6, 2019.(Credit: RMG News)
A crack is seen in a roadway in Trona on July 6, 2019.(Credit: RMG News)
There have been several fires, mostly related to gas leaks, authorities said. “Cal Fire is fully staffed at peak levels to support this event and as well as be prepared for any wildfires that occur throughout the state throughout this period,” Chief Tom Porter said. Fire marshal personell were working Friday to check petroleum pipelines and ensure they’re safe to operate following the quake. The California Municipal Utilities Association was working to make sure critical infrastructure, like hospitals, get priority for power restoration, Ghilarducci said. Efforts were also focused on making sure gas leaks are detected and fixed, but the issue could take days to fully repair after an earthquake, he said. Gov. Gavin Newsom extended his emergency declaration to include San Bernardino County and the damage sustained in the second earthquake. The governor also requested a presidential emergency declaration from the Whitehouse, which would make federal assistance available. Shelters and resources like cots, water and meals were made available to residents in the affected areas, Ghilarducci said. Some 200 people stayed at shelters set up overnight, Ghilarducci said. People were concerned about staying in their homes, he said. Mayor Peggy Breeden also said that there were some “bad people” who tried stealing from Ridgecrest businesses after the earthquakes. Those incidents are under investigation. Correction: A previous version of this story listed the wrong name for a highway. This story has been updated.

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