An earthquake of magnitude 6.4 shook the northern coast of California before dawn on Tuesday, damaging houses and roads and leaving tens of thousands of people without power.
At least 11 people have been reported injured, and two others died from “medical emergencies that occurred during or just after the quake,” according to the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office, the news agency Reuters reported.
The epicentre of the quake, which struck at 2:34 a.m. PT, was in the Pacific about 15 miles from Fortuna, a city of about 12,000 people in Humboldt County, part of California’s forested Redwood Coast. Fortuna is near Eureka and about a 280-mile drive northwest of Sacramento, reported CNN.
The region also is known for relatively frequent seismic activity, although the latest quake appeared to cause more disruption than others in recent years.
Tuesday’s temblor set off one structure fire, which was quickly extinguished, and caused two other buildings to collapse, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CalFire), Reuters reported.
The department said its dispatchers fielded 70 emergency calls after the quake, including one report of a person left trapped who needed rescuing, spokesperson Tran Beyea said.
Just after 2.30am local time, phones across the region buzzed to life warning residents of the rattling to come. Moments later, concrete ruptured, water pipes burst and picture frames were thrown from the walls. The state’s warning system alerted roughly 3 million people across the region, according to the California governor’s office of emergency services, giving them at least 10 seconds to take cover, Reuters reported.
After the earthquake, more than 70,000 customers were reported to be without power in the surrounding area, according to poweroutage.us, which tracks outages across the country – nearly 75% of people across the area. Two hospitals in the area also lost power and are running on generators.
(Inputs from Reuters)