More than 200 firefighters on scene after two major quakes in two days
Despite the power of the 7.1 earthquake that rocked Ridgecrest Friday evening, there have been no fatalities or major injuries, Kern County Fire Chief David Witt said during a briefing on Saturday morning.
Several mobile homes were knocked off their foundations and at least two structure fires were triggered by the quake but there are so far no reports of catastrophic damage or fatalities, though several injuries have been reported.
Speaking at the Kern County Emergency Operations Center Saturday morning, Witt said the KCFD is in unified command with Ridgecrest Police and the situation is stabilizing after the second major quake in just 20 hours.
A 6.4 quake shook the Ridgecrest area about 10:30 a.m. on Thursday.
"It feels like we are getting ahead of the curve out there," Witt said.
Rescue and firefighting as well as damages assessment was difficult overnight with firefighters going from "call to call to call" in the hours immediately after the quake.
There were numerous reports of gas leaks and broken water lines immediately following the quake.
"We do feel there is damage but we don't know how much," he said. "There are no major collapses, no one is trapped."
Power has been restored to much of the area and there are enough firefighters and other emergency personnel to handle the situation, Witt said.
Kern County Chief Administrative Officer Ryan Alsop said power has been restored to Ridgecrest Regional Hospital and a long-term care facility.
That includes at least 200 firefighters, including 100 from Kern County and more from Los Angeles County, Los Angeles City, Orange County, Fresno and the California Office of Emergency Services.
Witt said people should still avoid the Ridgecrest area.
Damage to the north and east of Ridgecrest may be more substantial.
The small community of Trona is without water service and Highway 178 east of Ridgecrest is closed because of numerous large cracks.