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By Sharon Marris, news reporter

Emergency services are dealing with a number of fires in Southern California after the region was hit by its worst earthquake in 20 years.

The 6.4-magnitude quake struck just after 10.30am local time (6.30pm UK time) on Thursday near the town of Ridgecrest, about 150 miles northeast of Los Angeles.

It was 5.4 miles deep and has been followed by more than 100 aftershocks.

Home shakes after quake in the US

Seismologist Dr Lucy Jones, from the California Institute of Technology's seismology lab, said the quake was the strongest in Southern California since a 7.1-magnitude quake struck the region in 1999.

She warned: "We will continue to have a lot of aftershocks."

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Fire and smoke is seen following an earthquake in Ridgecrest , California, U.S. July 4, 2019 in this still image taken from social media video. Pic: Ben Hood
Image: Ridgecrest is thought to have been worst-affected by the earthquake. Pic: Ben Hood

Been living in Los Angeles all my life. That was the longest earthquake Ive ever experienced. Not jerky. Smooth and rolling. But it was loooong. It was so long I thought for the first time ever “Is this the big one?” Damn. Respect Mother Nature. Shes the boss.

— Ava DuVernay (@ava) 4 July 2019

The Kern County Fire Department said it was dealing with multiple injuries, two house fires, small brush fires and gas
leaks in Ridgecrest, which has a population of more than 27,600.

Kern County fire chief David Witt said: "We feel are going to have the upper hand on this.

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"We don't know the exact number of injuries but so far they have been minor."

The force of the earthquake left a crack through this highway Pic: Karaleigh Roe
Image: The force of the earthquake left a crack through this highway Pic: Karaleigh Roe

Ridgecrest Regional Hospital and several apartment buildings have been evacuated.

The town's mayor, Peggy Breedon, told CNN that objects were falling off buildings and hitting people, and that there were fires and broken gas lines in the town.

She said: "We are used to earthquakes but we're not used to this significance.

"The city has asked residents to look after others, especially the elderly, which forms a large part of her city's population."

The #Ridgecrest earthquake is having a robust aftRead More – Source

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Sky News

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