The strongest earthquake to hit Southern California in 20 years rocked the region Thursday, igniting fires, triggering a hospital evacuation and shaking the area for hundreds of miles. The U.S. Geological Survey said the magnitude 6.4 quake was centered near Ridgecrest, an inland Kern County city about 150 miles northeast of Los Angeles. Multiple large aftershocks rolled through the region, in the Mojave Desert, in the minutes that followed.
Multiple injuries and two house fires were reported in Ridgecrest, a 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. The quake was felt in Los Angeles all the way to Las Vegas, more than 250 miles northeast of L.A. Social media lit up, and photos showed debris shaken from shelves in the Ridgecrest area.