In this image taken from video provided by Ben Hood, a firefighter works to extinguish a fire, Thursday, July 4, 2019, following an earthquake in Ridgecrest, Calif. (Ben Hood via AP)

Strongest Earthquake in 20 years hits Southern California

A 6.4 magnitude earthquake rattled Southern California on Thursday and officials said it was the largest to hit the region in 20 years. The quake struck near the city of Ridgecrest, which is located about 160 miles northeast of Los Angeles.

Some injuries were reported in Ridgecrest, authorities said, but the extent is currently unclear. A city in the hospital was evacuated and officials are assessing structural damage to the building.

The United States Geological Survey said the quake struck at 10:33 a.m. PT. The earthquake was initially given a magnitude of 6.6, but was later revised to 6.4. The quake was felt more than 150 miles away in Los Angeles, but no damage was reported.

This was the largest quake to hit Southern California since 1999 and an eerie reminder of the 1994 Northridge quake. The magnitude 6.6 earthquake killed at least 57 people and caused billions of dollars in damage.

Los Angeles revises earthquake app alerts

The city of Los Angeles has lowered the threshold on its earthquake app following public outcry, CBS Los Angeles reported. Residents were not alerted to the quake Thursday via Shakealert L.A. because it only registered at magnitude 4.5 in Los Angeles county.

“We hear you and will lower the alert threshold with @USGS_ShakeAlert,” the City of Los Angeles tweeted.

— April S.

Injuries reported in Ridgecrest

There were some injuries, but authorities are not saying to what extent right now. No deaths were reported and the hospital in Ridgecrest is not dealing with any earthquake related injuries. They did evacuate patients and need to assess structural and other damage.

— Carter Evans

Cracks form in roads from earthquake

Large cracks opened up in roadways between Trona and Ridgecrest where at magnitude earthquake struck on Thursday. The damage was reported on Highway 178.

Officials discovered cracks on roads across the city, but the California Highway Patrol said ooverpasses and underpasses were OK, the Associated Press reported.

Photos of cracks forming in roadways between Trona and Ridgecrest, where at 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck Thursday, July 4, 2019.
MEGAN VALENTINE/HANDOUT via CBS News.

​“It almost gave me a heart attack”

Items flew off the shelves in supermarkets and broken bottles littered the floor of a liquor store in Ridgecrest. People inside said the shelves were rocking back as bottles fell onto the ground.

“I was about half a foot away from getting hit in the head with a glass cup,” one employee told CBS News correspondent Carter Evans.

A waitress at the Midway Cafe said she was so startled by the quake it almost gave her a “heart attack.”

“It’s just a rolling feeling inside the building, inside the cafe and all of a sudden everything started falling off the shelf, glasses, the refrigerator and everything in the small refrigerator fell over,” Cora Burke told the Associated Press.

— Justin C.

Ridgecrest declares state of emergency

In an interview with CNN, Ridgecrest Mayor Peggy Breeden announced that she declared a state of emergency. She said crews were responding to at least five fires across the city and that crews were assessing broken gas lines.

A massive fire broke out at a home in Ridgecrest, a town of about 28,000 residents. It’s unclear what cause the blaze.

— Justin C.

Officials warn of more aftershocks

Dr. Lucy Jones, a seismologist with the United States Geological Survey, said there has already been a high number of aftershocks following the quake. “I think we have already had probably an excess of 20 3.5 [magnitude aftershocks],” Jones said in a news conference.

“I would expect that there will continue to be magnitude 3s every few minutes, as there have been since this earthquake happened and that as those many 3s come through, we’re going to have several 4s,” Jones continued.

She said several minutes before the news conference, she had logged a 4.1 magnitude aftershock.

“We will be continuing to have lots of aftershocks,” she said. “There is a 1 in 20 chance that this location could have an even bigger quake in the next few days.”

— April S.

House catches fire following earthquake

A massive house fire in Ridgecrest was caught on video following the 6.4 magnitude earthquake. It’s unclear what caused the blaze.

The earthquake was followed by dozens of aftershocks in Ridgecrest and Searles Valley, measuring anywhere from magnitude 2.9 to 4.2, according to CBS Los Angeles.

The earthquake is the largest in 20 years

The 6.4 magnitude earthquake is the largest to hit Southern California since 1999, Dr. Lucy Jones, a seismologist with the United States Geological Survey said Thursday.

She said the region experienced about eight magnitude 6 earthquakes in the 90s. “This is an extremely quiet, abnormal time. This type of earthquake is much more normal,” Jones said in a news conference.

— Justin C.

24 medical and fire incidents in Ridgecrest

Emergency crews were responding to at least 24 medical and fire incidents in the city of Ridgecrest, the Kern County Fire Department said.

No damage reported in Los Angeles

The Los Angeles Police Department said it did not receive any reports of damage. “This was a strong one, and a good reminder to be prepared,” the department tweeted.

— Justin C.

No injuries reported in San Bernardino

No injuries were immediately reported in San Bernardino County on Thursday, the local fire department said. They said buildings and roads “sustained varying degrees of damage.”

— Justin C.

Author: JUSTIN CARISSIMO, APRIL SIESE/ CBS News
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