The strongest earthquake in 20 years shook a large swath of Southern California and parts of Nevada on the July 4th holiday, rattling nerves and causing injuries and damage in a town near the epicenter, followed by a swarm of ongoing aftershocks.
The 6.4 magnitude quake struck at 10:33 a.m. Thursday in the Mojave Desert, about 150 miles northeast of Los Angeles, near the town of Ridgecrest, California. It was the strongest since a 7.1 quake struck in the area on October 16, 1999.
Multiple injuries and two house fires were reported in the town of 28,000. Emergency crews were also dealing with small vegetation fires, gas leaks and reports of cracked roads, said Kern County Fire Chief David Witt.
Ridgecrest Mayor Peggy Breeden said that utility workers were assessing broken gas lines and turning off gas where necessary, while Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency for Kern County.