Community comes together as it grapples with toll of devastating Humboldt Co. earthquake

Liz Kreutz Image
ByLiz Kreutz KGO logo
Thursday, December 22, 2022
Community comes together after devastating Humboldt Co. earthquake
Without water or power, the community comes together after the devastating Humboldt County earthquake.

RIO DELL, Calif. (KGO) -- Walking through CC Market & Deli, owner Gurpreet Singh says the cleanup following the 6.4 earthquake that rattled Humboldt County early Tuesday morning is overwhelming.

"So this is what we didn't move. The earthquake -- look at how much power it had," said owner Gurpreet Singh.

In every aisle, there are smashed wine bottles and salsa jars. Thousands of dollars in merchandise, now just being tossed away.

"It's tough. It's definitely tough. Being a grocery business, but it is what it is. But we just got to push through," said Singh.

RELATED: Videos show extent of damage from deadly 6.4 earthquake in Humboldt County

Cracked roads, shattered windows, and piles of debris on the ground: those were just some of the startling images emerging from Humboldt County in the wake of Tuesday's earthquake.

Across the county, power was restored to most areas late Tuesday night. PG&E says they have more than 200 crew members working overtime to restore the lines. But on Wednesday, the hard-hit city of Rio Dell remained mostly in the dark. Residents in the small, rural town going on day two with no heat and also no water.

Public works crews worked through the day, trying to find leaks in the pipes to restore the system. Until then, dozens of families lined up at the fire department where there are portable bathrooms and volunteers distributing cases of bottled water.

ABC7 News Liz Kreutz: "How did you get through the night?" I asked Tyler Hutton, a Rio Dell resident.

Tyler Hutton, a Rio Dell resident: "it was cold but we did it," said Hutton.

RELATED: 'I have PTSD': Napa reacts after 6.4 earthquake rocks Humboldt County

Kreutz: "You bundled up together?"

Hutton: "Bundled up together and we're thankful for the water here and everyone that's pulling together."

Vincent Lejan was among those handing water out even though he also had none at home. His dirty dishes were still sitting in the sink.

Kreutz: "How tough is it to live without power?"

Lejan: "Ugh I had to come to a complete stop."

RELATED: 2 dead, 'widespread damages' after 6.4 earthquake in Humboldt Co; at least 12 hurt

Meantime, Police Chief Greg Allen says around 7:30 a.m. this morning he helped rescue a woman who had been trapped in her bedroom for more than 24 hours.

"There was clutter from all the items that she had in her house that fell down. Leaving her with no access from the bedroom," said Rio Dell Chief Greg Allen.

For Dabina Gray the cleanup means making repairs to her mobile home.

"Well it definitely did some damage," Gray said.

MORE: USGS: 11% chance of a magnitude 5 earthquake or larger in next week after 6.4 Humboldt Co. quake

But for others it's not something a few tools can fix. Gage Dupper lived in a house that was shaken off its foundation during the quake.

"My roommates came running down the stairs, and I heard them screaming. Now's he displaced," Dupper said.

And like many others, he's wondering what to do next.

"It's terrifying. We're a little lost right now," Dupper.

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