‘Here comes another one’: Fires, power outages among damage from 7.1 California quake

A 7.1-magnitude quake, the second in two days near Ridgecrest, Calif., damaged property, sparked fires and cut power to residents in the region, residents and emergency officials said Saturday.

No deaths or major injuries had been reported, emergency officials said during a morning news conference. Officials were still assessing the damage.

“The shaking intensity was very significant,” said Mark Ghilarducci, director of the governor’s Office of Emergency Services, according to The Washington Post.

“We just felt the rumble coming and we said, ‘Here comes another one,’ ” said April Hamlin of Ridgecrest, KTLA reported. “It just kept rolling and got harder, and we grabbed on to one another. The TV flew off the stand and the lights went out. … We couldn’t see, but we could hear the glass breaking.”

Hamlin, who headed to a Red Cross evacuation center, said her home is unlivable, with cracks everywhere in the walls, according to the station.

A chimney collapsed in Ronnie Tolbert’s home in nearby Trona, pouring bricks into the living room, the Los Angeles Times reported. Windows shattered, bookshelves toppled and ceiling tiles fell during the quake.

“We lost everything in here,” Tolbert said. “Everything came tumbling down.”

Peggy Breeden, Ridgecrest’s mayor, said many people in the town spent the night trying to sleep outdoors, NPR reported.

Emergency officials reported several fires caused by broken gas lines in Ridgecrest, CNN reported.

“Prepare yourself for the next week to two weeks, this isn’t going to stop in the near future,” Police Chief Jed McLaughlin said, speaking of the likelihood of aftershocks, according to KNBC.

McLaughlin said that the community’s water system is intact and that a hospital is under a “shelter in place” order, according to the station.

A rockslide caused by the quake closed Highway 178 in Kern County between Bakersfield and Lake Isabella, KABC reported..

Thousands of people in Ridgecrest and Trona were without power, KNBC reported.

The 7.1-magnitude quake, which struck at 8:19 p.m. Friday, follows a 6.4-magnitude quake that hit at 10:33 a.m. Thursday. Both earthquakes were centered near Ridgecrest, a small town in the Searles Valley region west of Death Valley.

People as far away as Redding, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Baja California and Reno reported feeling Friday’s quake on the USGS Did You Feel It website.

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Don Sweeney has been a newspaper reporter and editor in California for more than 25 years. He has been a real-time reporter based at The Sacramento Bee since 2016.