A major earthquake occurred at 8:19 p.m. Friday night, centered 11 miles north northeast of Ridgecrest.

The temblor came in at magnitude 7.1, although it was also previously reported at 6.9, according to the United States Geological Survey. It surpassed Thursday's 6.4 earthquake that took place in what appears to be the same general area.

Thursday's earthquake is now considered a foreshock.

The Associated Press reported the quake was felt as far north as Sacramento, Las Vegas to the east and in Mexico.

Kern County Fire Department Chief David Witt said in a press conference in Bakersfield on Friday night that multiple resources from Kern County and surrounding areas are being dispatched to Ridgecrest.

"A lot of people are here to help," Witt said.

No fatalities have been reported, Witt said.

"Many concerns" are plaguing first responders, including collapsed buildings and people trapped in buildings, Witt said.

"I am very confident that we can take care of this situation," Witt said.

A news conference also took place in Ridgecrest late Friday night into Saturday morning. It was livestreamed by KGET-17.

Public safety officials said firefighters responded to two structure fires, and they were inundated with emergency calls. Officials also said Ridgecrest Regional Hospital was sheltering in place until conditions could be evaluated.

Ridgecrest Mayor Peggy Breeden urged residents to be extremely careful, including while driving, saying "many people are sleeping outside tonight."

While a shelter is available in Ridgecrest, she said that "many are choosing to be with their neighbors" and are staying close to their homes.

"It is not an impossible task to take care of this," but it will take longer than expected following Friday night's quake, Breeden said during the livestreamed news conference.

Kern County First District Supervisor Mick Gleason, who represents the Ridgecrest area, thanked first-responders. He said he talked to the White House and California Gov. Gavin Newsom. He noted both Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, and state Sen. Shannon Grove, R-Bakersfield, had been in the city Friday.

Gleason said he looked forward to putting this to bed "as soon as Mother Nature stops hounding us."

During the livestreamed news conference, Ridgecrest Police Chief Jed McLaughlin said the Bakersfield Police Department, California City Police Department and Kern County Sheriff's Office sent additional officers and deputies to the area.

According to the County of Kern Twitter account, there is an emergency shelter open at Kern McGee Center, located at 100 West California Ave. in Ridgecrest.

Shortly before 1 a.m. Saturday, countywide spokeswoman Megan Person made these points:

• Water has been tested and it's good.

• The dam at Lake Isabella was evaluated and cleared.

• Highway 178 through the canyon was open in both directions.

• Law enforcement is fully staffed.

• The Kern County Emergency Operations Center alone received 248 calls for service.

• Only minor injuries had been reported.

• A total of 129 people were reported to be at the Kerr McGee Center in Ridgerest, which had been set up as a shelter by the Red Cross. An unknown number of those people are from Trona.

• She noted that another update would be provided at 8:30 a.m. Saturday.

Also early Saturday, Newsom issued an emergency proclamation for San Bernardino County, given it "was also impacted by the effects of a second large magnitude earthquake near Ridgecrest that has damaged critical infrastructure, homes and other structures and caused fires," according to a statement from his office.

Felt beyond Ridgecrest

The shockwaves from Friday night's quake were felt throughout Bakersfield and Tehachapi.

"I was serving a table and they were like 'Oh, there's an earthquake!'" said Blanca Trejo, a waitress at Denny's on Merle Haggard Drive who was working at the time of Friday's earthquake.

Trejo didn't feel the quake at first while standing.

"They told me if I sat down I would feel it, so I sat down and I felt it. It was pretty heavy."

Sebastian Martinez, the manager, noted that like the videos of people's pool water swaying back and forth, the oil in the fryers were doing the same during the earthquake.

"We didn't really feel it in the back but the oil was moving around and the lamps (which hang from the ceiling of the building) were swaying."

Outside of that, there was no damage.

"Everybody just stopped," Trejo added.

Caltrans reported that Highway 178 is closed from the San Bernardino County line to the junction of Highway 190 due to the quake, according to a news release from public information officer Christine Knadler. The highway through the canyon was closed for hours, but then reopened.

"Maintenance crews are working alongside CHP to assess all roads and bridges in the area," Knadler wrote. "The public is encouraged to stay clear of the area until a full assessment has been completed."

The city of Tehachapi has felt the majority of the aftershocks, "some very strong," city spokesman Key Budge said via email.

Personnel in Tehachapi have checked the water and wastewater systems; they found no damage and all systems are working, Budge reported.

The County of Kern Facebook page said: "We’re again receiving requests for individuals wanting to drop off donations. We currently do not need donations and would ask for the community’s help in holding off until we know if anything is needed."

This story will be updated. Californian staff member Teddy Feinberg contributed to this report.

(5) comments

She Dee

Start the prepping if you have not already done it. It's never too late to have a few extra gallons (or more) of water for each person & pet in your home & a few extra cans of food to sustain you for a minimum of 3 days. Know your escape routes in advance & keep a wrench close to the gas main to shut it off quickly! Flashlights & batteries & a first aid kit too~.


NAWS closed since the 6.4, no word on the 7.1--TBD. Where it all began . . . --- “The United States Geological Survey has confirmed that the epicenter of the series of recent, local quakes was on two faults that are located aboard Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake,” stated a post on the base’s Facebook page.


Watching TV news as Dr. pointed to seismic shock wave approaching on map/countdown . . . 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 0 . . . shaker hit! First time ever knew it was coming as Maricopa is 29 seconds away from epicenter. ---- Still no update debrief from China Lake (NAWS) or Edwards AFB (AFFTc) effects. Most likely on lockdown secure for no compromise of security. But Ridgecrest neighbor is further from epicenter (fires, damage, power) than China . . . so . . . on standby for hotwash . . .


Well seems like we are getting closer to the long awaited big one.


Yes be prepared!

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