Article By Paloma Esquivel, Mark Puente, Giulia McDonnell Nieto del Rio, Laura J. Nelson
Photo By Genaro Molina/Los Angeles Times
Reporting from Trona, Calif. — The 7.1 magnitude earthquake that rocked Southern California on Friday night tipped buildings off their foundations and left residents on edge but did not cause any fatalities or major injuries, officials said.
California’s second major earthquake in less than two days struck near Ridgecrest, a Mojave Desert town about 125 miles northeast of Los Angeles. The same area was rattled by a magnitude 6.4 earthquake, the largest in nearly two decades, on the morning of July Fourth.
“By the grace of God, we’ve had no casualties, and we’ve only had minor injuries,” said Jed McLaughlin, the Ridgecrest police chief. That outcome, he said, “is amazing, considering these two big earthquakes that we’ve experienced.”
The Friday night earthquake was about 10 times larger than the July Fourth quake, seismologists said. Shaking was felt as far away as Phoenix, Las Vegas, Baja California and Reno, according to crowd-sourced data on the U.S. Geological Survey.
Power and communication were knocked out to Ridgecrest and the nearby town of Trona overnight. Some buildings sustained major damage, but the immediate extent was not clear.
The earthquake sparked several gas leaks and four fires, destroying several mobile homes. The vast majority of injuries were scrapes and bruises, paramedics said.
“We’re very lucky there and happy there wasn’t anything worse,” said Mark Ghilarducci, director of the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Service.
Broken foundations, sagging walls and furniture damaged by smoke from nearby fires will be crushing for some residents, who are already worried about repairs to modest homes.