CALIFORNIA: A powerful 6.4-magnitude earthquake shook California’s far northern coast before dawn on Tuesday, crumpling homes and roads, severing power lines and leaving thousands of residents without running water or electricity.
According to the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office, at least a dozen people were injured and two others died from “medical emergencies” that occurred during or just after the quake.
The quake, which struck at 2:30 a.m. PST and was followed by about 80 aftershocks, was centered 350 miles north of San Francisco off Humboldt County, a largely rural area known for its redwood forests , its local seafood, its wood. industry and dairy farms.
California Governor Gavin newsom declared a state of emergency for Humboldt County on Tuesday to support the emergency response to the earthquake.
Newsom directed state agencies and departments to take appropriate action as necessary to provide support to local communities, according to a statement.
The area is also known for relatively frequent seismic activity, although the latest quake appears to have caused more disruption than others in recent years.
Tuesday’s earthquake sparked a structural fire – by severing the gas line to a water heater – and caused at least two other buildings to collapse, authorities said. The fire was quickly extinguished and firefighters rescued a resident who was briefly trapped in the house, according to firefighters.
About two dozen homes were so badly damaged that they were “red-labeled”, declared unsanitary. Most were in Rio Della town of around 3,400 that bore the brunt of the earthquake.
Water service to the entire community has been disrupted and City Manager Kyle Knopp said he expects 100 to 150 residents will likely end up being relocated once housing inspectors assess all damage structures there.
According to the power grid monitoring website PowerOutage.us, some 79,000 homes and businesses in the county were without power immediately after the earthquake.
“THINGS GET CRASHED”
Jacqui McIntosh, 28, whose Rio Dell home was rocked to its foundations, said she and her husband, Shanewere shaken out of bed and huddled under it until the shaking stopped.
“And then as we ran out of the house…you could smell gas everywhere,” she said. “Our water was cut off, so there’s water everywhere. I just remember coming out of the house and seeing, for example, a house on the ground near our porch.”
Another Rio Dell resident, Liz Peavy, 68, said she too was woken up as her house began to rumble.
“And it just kept shaking and shaking, and things were falling apart,” she recalled. “The TV was falling out, the microwave, everything, like all my little trinkets were crashing everywhere.”
Fire officials said dispatchers responded to about 70 emergency calls after the quake.
The details of the victims were sketchy. Both deaths were of people, one aged 72, the other 83, who suffered medical emergencies that coincided with the earthquake, preventing rescue teams from reaching them in time to provide medical assistance. life-saving care, the Humboldt County Sheriff said. Guillaume Honsal.
Most of the 12 survivors known to have sought medical attention made it to hospital and suffered relatively minor injuries, many from fallen objects. Two of the most serious cases were a head injury and a broken hip, officials said.
‘REALLY INTENSIVE’
Police closed a bridge over the River Eel just outside Ferndale, a quaint town notable for its storefronts and gingerbread-style Victorian houses, after four large cracks were discovered in the span. The California Highway Patrol also said the pavement foundation was in danger of slipping.
Authorities reported that at least four Humboldt County roads were closed due to earthquake damage.
“The shaking was really intense,” said Daniel Holsapple, 33, a resident of nearby Arcata, who said he grabbed his cat and ran outside after being woken in complete darkness by the movement of the house and by an emergency alert from his mobile phone.
“You couldn’t see what was going on. It was just the feeling and this general rumble of the foundation of the whole house vibrating,” he said.
California’s Earthquake Early Warning System sent electronic alerts to the mobile devices of some 3 million Northern California residents 10 seconds before the first tremor even hit, the emergency chief said of the State, Mark Ghilarducci.
While earthquakes are common in California, 6.4 magnitude tremors are less common and potentially dangerous.
Tuesday’s earthquake hit a seismically active area where multiple tectonic plates converge on the seafloor about 2 miles offshore, an area that has produced about 40 earthquakes in the 6.0 to 7.0 range during of the last century, said Cynthia Pridmore, senior geologist for the California Geological Survey.
“It’s not uncommon to have earthquakes of this magnitude in this region,” she told a news conference.
The tremors from Tuesday’s earthquake were felt as far away as the San Francisco Bay Area, the US Geological Survey reported. The largest aftershock recorded a magnitude of 4.6.

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