Powerful aftershocks shake Southern California after massive earthquake: 'You just panic'

Posted at 4:21 PM, Jul 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-05 17:21:47-04

Powerful aftershocks are still shaking Southern California on Friday after a massive 6.4 magnitude earthquake rocked the region on the Fourth of July.

ABC News correspondent Eva Pilgrim was filming when a 5.4 magnitude aftershock hit Friday morning.

Kern County saw more than 100 aftershocks on Thursday, county fire officials said, and experts warn the threat is not over.

"There is about a 1 in 20 chance that this location will be having an even bigger earthquake within the next few days," seismologist Dr. Lucy Jones said.

Thursday's quake, which struck about 10:30 a.m. local time, marked the strongest earthquake in Southern California since 1999, officials said.

The earthquake was centered in a remote area near Searles Valley in the Mojave Desert, about 150 miles northeast of Los Angeles.

Yari Mower was watching three of her children performing in a Independence Day play when the quake hit.

There were 65 children ages 5 through 12 on stage -- and Mower said "chaos" broke out.

"I have three kids on the stage. I have my husband, my two other kids in the audience ... I'm just trying to figure out, like, 'How am I gonna get to my kids? I have some here, I have some there,'" Mower told ABC News.

"People were telling me to get out, I just had to find them," she said. "I felt like I was really far away from them. ... It was scary."

(Source: ABC News)

California Gov. Gavin Newsom approved an emergency proclamation for Kern County, which encompasses Ridgecrest, a city that experienced the brunt of the damage.

No deaths or major injuries were reported, said Mark Ghilarducci, director of the state's office of emergency services. But Kern County fire chief David Witt said there were minor to moderate injuries and damage in Ridgecrest.

Sara Beren told ABC News she had just gotten to her Ridgecrest home and was putting away groceries when she started to feel the tremor.

"We're used to tremors," she said, but this time, "it didn't stop."

"It felt really long. It felt like two of them back to back," she said. "There were explosions, it sounded like."

(MORE: Biggest earthquake in 20 years rocks Southern California, strong aftershocks expected)

"Our kitchen is completely, completely destroyed," Beren said. "Everything fell of the walls, out of the cabinets. It was a real struggle to get out of the house because of how bad it was shaking."

Once Beren got out of the house, she said she saw a brick wall crumble across the street and a trailer fall over.

"You just panic at that point," she said.

Beren said she ran over to the trailer, and, "We pulled the owner out and her, I believe it was her granddaughter, out of the trailer, and they were visibly shaken."

"I'll never forget this. It's emotional. It's scary," she said. "You always know it's coming... you just are never prepared for when it actually happens."

Charlotte Sturgeon says she was out of the house when the quake shook her Ridgecrest home -- and she returned to find major damage.

The foundation "is completely off and it's leaning. And in the front room all there is is glass," she told ABC News. Sturgeon said a cabinet fell with a lot of precious items from her grandmother.

(MORE: Large earthquake rocks Anchorage, Alaska, causing 'major infrastructure damage')Of her home of nearly 20 years, she said, "This can't be saved, I’m pretty sure."

But she's grateful she's safe.

"It could've been worse," Sturgeon said.

ABC News' Marcus Moore, Robert Zepeda, Jenna Harrison, Stacy Chen and Cammeron Parrish contributed to this report.