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Overnight California quake leaves residents cleaning up debris

This image posted by Caltrans District 1 shows a road closure on California State Route 211 at Fernbridge, a 1,320-foot-long (402.3 m) concrete arch bridge that spans the Eel River near Fortuna, Calif., in Humboldt County. The bridge is closed while they conduct a safety inspection checking for possible seismic damage. Officials say a strong earthquake in Northern California has cut off power to thousands and damaged roads and homes. No injuries have been reported in the magnitude 6.4 earthquake early Tuesday near Ferndale. That's a small community over 200 miles northwest of San Francisco and close to the Pacific Coast. (Caltrans District 1 via AP)

EUREKA, Calif. (BP) — A 6.4 earthquake early this morning (Dec. 20) jarred northern California residents like Andy Broese, pastor of Harvest Church, from their sleep.

Local reports indicate no major structural damage. However, Broese told Baptist Press that broken glass from objects and cracked picture frames could be seen throughout his home.

“We’re definitely shaken up,” said Broese, who will mark 32 years at Harvest in February. “It was around 2:35 in the morning and we were sound asleep. We’ve had a lot of earthquakes up here and this was the first time one did this much damage inside.

“This feels like the biggest one I’ve personally experienced.”

The U.S. Geological Survey recorded the 6.4 earthquake at 2:34 a.m. Pacific time 15 kilometers west/southwest of Ferndale, which is about 16 miles south of Eureka. As of 8 a.m., 30 aftershocks had been recorded in the surrounding area.  

Broese estimated the earthquake lasted about 20 or 30 seconds, but of course, felt much longer than that. “It just kept going,” he said. “We could hear glass breaking.”

After assessing the damage, he and his wife, Cindy, went to check on her 90-year-old mother, who lives by herself in a senior adult community.

Broese also established contact with the local police department, where he serves as the chaplain.

One bridge in the area is currently shut down for inspection, but no other discernable damage has been reported. Power is out, however, with cell phone coverage “spottier than usual,” said Broese.

“The power company is saying they may have everything back on around 10 tonight.”

There have been no reports of injuries to church members, he added. He plans to go to the church later today to inspect possible damage there.

On arriving at home later in the morning, Broese looked at his scheduled devotion for the day and couldn’t help but chuckle. Revelation 11 and Haggai 2 both feature earthquakes.

“Things are happening,” he said. “So it’s important to be prepared, alert and sober-minded.”