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Another powerful earthquake jolts Southern California causing injuries, damage and multiple fires

A powerful magnitude 7.1 earthquake jolted Southern California, sending terrified residents out on the streets, just one day after a slightly smaller temblor had hit the region. Authorities said numerous fires broke out, and they reported injuries as well as damage to buildings and roads.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake hit at 8:19 p.m. Friday and was centered 11 miles from Ridgecrest in the Mojave Desert, where a magnitude 6.4 quake struck on Thursday. The agency said two 5.5 aftershocks hit the same region in the hours after the 7.1 quake — which was five times bigger than Thursday’s.

Mark Ghillarducci, director of the California Office of Emergency Services, said there were “significant reports of structure fires, mostly as a result of gas leaks or gas line breaks throughout the city (of Ridgecrest).” Kern County fire officials also reported “multiple injuries” in addition to the “multiple fires.”

There were reports of trailers burning at a mobile home park, State Route 178 was closed by a rock-slide and roadway damage, and nearly 2,000 people were without power. Kern County Fire Chief David Witt said although there were a lot of ambulance calls, there were no reported fatalities.

Major damage is expected here in Ridgecrest, California after the earthquake. Huge fire at a mobile home park captured by WCK’s @cheftkilcoyne — Our team is safe and we will be working to support evacuees.

— World Central Kitchen (@WCKitchen) July 6, 2019

Ghillarducci also said a building collapse occurred in the tiny Kern County town of Trona and added there could be even more serious damage to the region that won’t be known until first light on Saturday.

In neighboring San Bernardino County, firefighters reported building damage including “homes shifted, foundation cracks, retaining walls down,” and one minor injury.

The Los Angeles Fire Department went into earthquake mode, getting trucks out into neighborhoods to check for damage, but it said no major damage had been identified. There were reports of wires down and a small number of localized power outages in L.A.

Friday night’s shaker was felt in central Los Angeles as a rolling motion that seemed to last at least a half-minute. It was felt as far away as Sacramento, San Francisco and Las Vegas, and the USGS said it also was felt in Mexico.

Donald Castle, who lives near the Ridgecrest epicenter — which is about 150 miles from Los Angeles — said his house shook for between 20 and 25 seconds.

“It was more of a shake than what we had on the Fourth. It lasted longer and was more rolling,” he said.

Giovanna Gomez was at home with her family in Bakersfield — in Kern County about 110 miles from Ridgecrest — when their house swayed and the water in her pool overflowed. They ran outside.

“It was about a minute long,” she said. “Far larger than the one that (happened) yesterday. It was a smooth roll going back and forth.”

The quake rattled Dodger Stadium in the fourth inning of L.A.’s baseball game against the San Diego Padres. It was obvious to viewers of the SportsNet L.A. broadcast when the TV picture bounced up and down as the press box lurched for about 20 seconds.

The NBA Summer League game Friday night between the New Orleans Pelicans and the New York Knicks in Las Vegas — more than 230 miles away — was delayed following the quake. Scoreboards and speakers near the ceiling of the arena shook when the earthquake hit.

It came a day after a 6.4-magnitude earthquake rattled the area Thursday — the largest in nearly 20 years and centered near Ridgecrest. Thursday’s quake produced more than 1,400 aftershocks, scientists said Friday.

Noted seismologist Lucy Jones of CalTech said Friday night that the pair of powerful earthquakes were part of an ongoing sequence of a “very energetic system” — and she also did not rule out the possibility that more earthquakes could be coming.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom activated the state emergency operation center to its highest level on Friday night.

“On behalf of all Californians, I offer my heartfelt support to those affected by tonight’s earthquake near Ridgecrest,” Newsom said in a late night statement. “The State of California will continue to offer support to aid residents in the region. The state is coordinating mutual aid to local first responders.”

“Earlier this evening, I formally requested a Presidential Emergency Declaration for Direct Federal Assistance to further support emergency response and recovery in impacted communities,” he added.

“In response to another large earthquake in Southern California tonight, I have activated the @Cal_OES state operation center to its highest level, and the state is coordinating mutual aid to local first responders.” – Governor @GavinNewsom

— Office of the Governor of California (@CAgovernor) July 6, 2019

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