Earthquake emergency declared as Ridgecrest assesses the damage

Patients rest in the shade of a tent after being evacuated from Ridgecrest Regional Hospital following the 6.4 earthquake.
(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday signed an emergency declaration covering areas affected by the 6.4 magnitude earthquake that rocked parts of Southern California.

While the quake rattled a large swath of the region, Ridgecrest and other Kern County communities were the hardest hit. There were several fires and damage to some stores. A few people suffered moderate injuries.

Ridgecrest Mayor Peggy Breeden signed a proclamation declaring a state of emergency Thursday afternoon.

“Because we’ve had over 87 aftershocks of this, we don’t know what’s going to happen,” she said at a news conference. “And with that, the state of emergency allows us to seek significant help from other governmental entities.”

She said her office has heard from the White House and the offices of Rep. Kevin McCarthy and Sen. Kamala Harris, among others.


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“With all of this cooperation, both state and federal, we expect that we’ll be able to hold on from this,” she said.

Capt. Paul Dale, commanding officer of Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, said personnel were still assessing damage to the station, which is adjacent to Ridgecrest in the Mojave Desert.

“All of our roadways are passable,” he said at a news conference. “Our entry control points are operational.”

He noted that, at about 1.2 million acres, the base is slightly larger than the state of Rhode Island.

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Lt. John Williams, Mojave-area commander of the California Highway Patrol, said at the news conference that California Department of Transportation crews assisted officers with repairing a crack across Highway 178 and clearing debris and large boulders that fell onto U.S. 395. The work was completed in about an hour, he said.

“Other than that, we’ve checked every overcrossing and every undercrossing on every main highway around Ridgecrest, and there’s no other problems or concerns,” Williams said.