Despite the actions of a few “bad people,” Ridgecrest and the surrounding areas are well on the way to recovery from recent earthquakes.
“It’s hard for the world to know what we’ve been through, because through the grace of God we’ve had no casualties and have only had minor injuries,” said Ridgecrest Police Chief Jed McLaughlin during a press conference Saturday morning. “Our structures have remained upright, some have sustained major damage, but they’re still standing.”
On Friday night into Saturday morning, some 30 officers were patrolling the streets from allied agencies and Kern County. The dispatch center was temporarily shut down immediately after the first earthquake, forcing dispatchers to use a backup system, the main system is now back up and running, according to McLaughlin.
Ridgecrest Mayor Peggy Breeden demonstrated a sense of humor over the attention Ridgecrest is now receiving on the state and national level.
“Thank you for coming to our city, we want you to come back at another time when it is not one of these stressful things,” she said. “We want you to come back and see what a beautiful community we have, what a fine city we have and what wonderful people we have.
“We did, last night, have some bad people come into this community and try to take things away from some of our business owners. I ask all the residents, if you see something, say something. Report it. If something doesn’t look right, question it. Talk to your friends and neighbors and please, please, please keep abreast of what is going on. Watch our website, keep track our Facebook posts and you will come through this OK, because we are a community.”
Sage Mart on Downs Street and Drummond Avenue was broken into overnight and some equipment was stolen, according to McLaughlin. The break-in was only one of two major crimes reported overnight.
“They stole a very expensive piece of equipment and we also had a residence that was broken into and we’re still waiting to see and get a list of what was taken,” he said.
Kern County First District Supervisor Mick Gleason said he was thankful for the response to the disaster.
“We don’t know what’s in store for us for the next couple of days, but I do know we have a great team assembled,” said Kern County First District Supervisor Mick Gleason. “Everything’s worked out and is coming together well.”
Gleason said he toured Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake with U.S. Congressman Kevin McCarthy, California Sen. Shannon Grove and California Assemblyman Vince Fong. He added that he has also been in contact with state and federal officials, including the White House.
“All the channels are open and are all working,” he said.
The Board of Supervisors will be holding a special meeting to declare a state of emergency for the City of Ridgecrest and surrounding areas.