Humboldt County’s 6.4 Earthquake Causes Major Damage to the town of Rio Dell

RIO DELL, Calif. (KIEM) – The 6.4 earthquake shook all of Humboldt County last night, but especially the town of Rio Dell. Many of the older buildings and historic infrastructure cracked and crumbled at their foundations.

Rio Dell resident Sharon Wolff was fortunate enough to not have sustained major damage to her household, but many of her neighbors weren’t as lucky.

“Two doors down from us at that house, they had the water mains split and it completely flooded out the house,” said Wolff. “Down on Wildwood, they had a large porch that came down on the front of the house. It is pretty extensive.”

For now, residents must go without running water, power, or gas.

“We are trying to assess the total amount of damage to the water system, but it is significant,” said Rio Dell City Manager, Kyle Knopp.

Humboldt County 2nd District Supervisor, Michelle Bushnell, added that the electricity situation is just as dire of an issue.

“Currently, Humboldt County has no power in the total of the county, so there is damage to the entire county,” she said.

Some community members spent the day giving out free supplies, trying to help remedy the catastrophe.

“We are handing out water to the community of Rio Dell because of the big earthquake,” said Penny Dunaway, the Assistant Manager at Dollar General.

Dunaway and her co-worker were handing out free water outside the Dollar General.

“Everything is a mess,” Dunaway said. “Our water source is not working right now and we’re just doing all that we can do.”

So far two deaths and eleven injuries have resulted from the earthquake.

“There were several transports to the hospital,” said Rio Dell Fire District Chief, Shane Wilson. “Most of our calls were superficial injuries, minor things that have fallen, you know, scrapes and bumps on legs and arms, and a couple had head trauma injuries.”

Local officials gather in the hard-hit town of Rio Dell as they try to put things back together.

“I think the majority of the county is in an assessment phase right now,” said Humboldt County Office of Emergency Services Liaison, Kevin Miller. “I don’t think anyone has really come back with any hard numbers or anything like that yet, which is not atypical for a situation like this.”

For more emergency service resources you can visit the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office of Emergency Services page

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