California Official: Quake Damage Not As Bad As Expected

Jul 6, 2019

Food that fell from the shelves litters the floor of an aisle at a Walmart following an earthquake in Yucca Yalley, Calif., on Friday, July 5, 2019.
Credit CHAD MAYES VIA AP

A state official says damage from the 7.1 magnitude earthquake in Southern California was not as bad as authorities expected.

Mark S. Ghilarducci, director of the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services, said Saturday that Ridgecrest and Trona suffered structure fires, gas leaks, power outages, road damage and rock slides.

He says the damage was not as extensive as expected despite back-to-back quakes on Thursday and Friday.

He says nearly 200 people were in shelters.

Ghilarducci says cleanup work is underway in San Bernardino and Kern counties, and Caltrans has worked to patch and fix roads, as well as clear rock slides.

Meanwhile, a fire official says there were no fatalities or major injuries in Ridgecrest after the earthquake on Friday night.

Kern County Fire Chief David Witt also said Saturday there were no major building collapses but some structures could be weakened from the back-to-back quakes.

Friday's quake occurred a day after a magnitude 6.4 quake hit in the same area of the Mojave Desert about 150 miles from Los Angeles.

Witt says there were some power outages and minor gas and water leaks in Ridgecrest, but no known damage outside the area.

He urged residents to get supplies ready in case another quake hits.

Gov. Gavin Newsom has declared a state of emergency for a section of Southern California that saw significant damage after Friday night's earthquake.

The declaration provides immediate state assistance to San Bernardino County, citing conditions of "extreme peril to the safety of persons and property" in the county due to the earthquake.

State highway officials shut a 30-mile section of State Route 178 between Ridgecrest — the area hit by two major temblors as many days — and the town of Trona southwest of Death Valley.

Photos posted on Twitter by the state highway department shows numerous cracks in the road.

A spokesman for the governor's Office of Emergency Services says crews were still assessing damages to water lines, gas lines and other infrastructure Saturday.

The mayor of Ridgecrest says there were two reports of burglaries in the Southern California city following the 7.1 earthquake Friday night.

Mayor Peggy Breeden said Saturday that some "bad people" came into the community and tried to steal items from businesses.

Ridgecrest Police Chief Jed McLaughlin said one business was burglarized, with an expensive piece of equipment stolen.

A home was also broken into and police are waiting to see what was taken.