Some were frightened and others were simply amused by Tuesday afternoon's 4.8-magnitude earthquake that shook up Kern County.
“It just shook the whole building,” Wasco Chevron gas station cashier Olivia Mendoa said. “It shook the shelves, but the only thing that fell was a bag of doughnuts. It felt strong and I was kind of scared.”
Initially, Mendoza thought a truck had hit the building shortly after 4 p.m.
The U.S. Geological Survey said the earthquake originated four miles south-southwest of Wasco and six miles west-northwest of Shafter. The quake’s preliminary magnitude was revised from 4.9 to 4.8. An aftershock, estimated at magnitude 2.6, followed.
As of Tuesday evening, there were no reports of major damage — except maybe to people’s nerves, according to their stories.
Wasco resident Tony Reynaga said he was laughing during the earthquake.
“It was funny,” Reynaga said. “My nephew was arguing with his mom and yelled, 'I never want to talk to you again' and slammed his bedroom door just as the earthquake started. He immediately ran back out.”
Olivia Maxson was fixing dinner when she noticed her windows were starting to shake.
“It was the biggest I've felt,” she said. “I lost my footing and almost fell.”
Maxson's 2-year-old and 6-year-old sons were home.
“My oldest wanted to hide under the table,” Maxson said. “But it was over so quickly.”
Reached a few minutes after the shaker, USGS geophysicist Jana Pursley said the full duration of the seismic event was close to 200 seconds, as measured by sensitive instruments, but most of that would not be perceived by humans.
Primary waves come first, Pursley said, followed shortly (depending on one’s distance from the epicenter) by high-amplitude surface waves, which humans are more likely to feel.
Pursley added that quakes can have "directionality," meaning the intensity may differ depending on what direction one is from the epicenter, even at the same distance.
In downtown Wasco, Anahi, 11, Paulina, 14, Luis, 9, and Enrique, 13, Aguirre were at the family business, El Burrito Loco Taqueria, when the shaking started.
"All of us, we just ran outside," Paulina Aguirre said.
The normally busy area was filled after the quake as store owners and their customers came out of buildings to the relative safety of the street, she said.
The Aguirre children had never experienced an earthquake before.
Bakersfield Public Works Director Nick Fidler said he was on the fifth floor of City Hall North, in a conference room at the city manager’s office, when the quake hit.
“We felt it pretty good but nothing came dislodged,” Fidler said. “It was a good shake for a few seconds. But at this point we haven’t identified any damage as a result of the earthquake.”
In an interview about 10 minutes after the temblor, Anthony Galagaza, battalion chief at the Bakersfield Fire Department, said firefighters hadn’t received any related calls.
“After that happens, we don’t get a call for about the first 15 minutes because everybody’s calling their families,” Galagaza said. “We haven’t even had a call in the city since it happened.”
Kern County Fire Department spokesman James Dowell said there had been no reports of damage as of 4:20 p.m.
“We just have a lot of fire alarms going off,” Dowell said.
Dowell said in an email that the KCFD canvased the area to check for damage and fire and has received no reports of damage or injuries.
It wasn't quite business as usual atop the Stockdale Tower, the city's tallest building, but it was close.
Allie Wyatt, a receptionist at The Petroleum Club, the 12th-floor white tablecloth restaurant, said the earthquake was over before anyone fully realized what they ought to do about it.
"It just kind of rolled through," she said. "The chandeliers were swaying, but it was over so fast. A little excitement; that's all."
Southwest Bakersfield resident Wanda Badgley said the noise alerted her to the earthquake, not the motion.
“It wasn’t shaking in itself, it was the noise,” said Badgley, whose condominium features a large pane of glass above the front door. “I thought, ‘This window, is it coming down?’” Badly added.
Jim Zervis, administrative services director for the City of Shafter, said City Hall was shaken up pretty well. But there was no damage there.
Almost an hour after the earthquake, he said things seemed safe in town.
“There were a few emergency calls from people who were scared or concerned about the earthquake but no real reports of damage,” he said.
Angel Kong, at Giovanni's Italian Eatery in Shafter, said a search of the building turned up zero damage to the restaurant.
Angle Rodriguez, a manager at Tony’s Pizza, said they felt just a little shaking.
Employees “were all helping the customers when it hit. It didn’t go on too long,” he said.
Temblor Brewing company quickly capitalized on the shaker and invited folks out to calm their nerves with an earthquake-themed beer.
“TEMBLOR ALERT! Did everyone feel the Temblor? Beers on special all day today!” the brew-pub owners posed on Facebook.
— J.W. Burch IV, James Burger, Theo Douglas, Steven Mayer, Robert Price and Henry A. Barrios contributed to this story.