Two dead in California earthquake, leaves thousands without power

A mess on the floor of a home after the quake hit

Two people have died and tens of thousands of households were left without power after a magnitude 6.4 earthquake rocked northern California.

The tremor, 215 miles (350km) north of San Francisco, has caused widespread damage to roadways.

“Anything that was on the walls broke off the walls,” said JB Mathers, a resident of the coastal city of Eureka.

Authorities have closed several roads and warned the public to brace for aftershocks.

The quake struck at 02:34 PST on Tuesday. It spawned up to 80 smaller quakes between magnitude 4.6 and 2.5, according to the US Geological Survey.

A man inspects a damaged building

Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office said that 11 people had been injured, in addition to the two that died.

The tremor ruptured gas lines, causing leaks. One building caught fire and was quickly extinguished, while two other buildings collapsed.

By Tuesday evening local time, power was still out for over 32,000 customers, according to tracker Poweroutages.us .

A damaged building
A damaged home
A Christmas tree seen through broke windows

The sheriff’s office had said earlier said that no tsunami was expected after the quake, which occurred around two miles offshore.

Authorities are still assessing damage. Utility crews say they could take days to restore power in the remote, heavily forested area.

The California Highway Patrol has closed the Fernbridge, a 1,320ft (400m) concrete arch span crossing the Eel River, after discovering cracks in four places, according to CBS News.

In the city of Fortuna, power was out and shattered glass littered the pavement.

People in the area have been told by authorities to boil their water, due to the possibility that pipes have been contaminated by ground water.

On Saturday, a smaller 3.6 magnitude earthquake struck the San Francisco region, waking up thousands of people in the early hours and causing minor damage to infrastructure.

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