Man found dead under Jeep in Nevada might be linked to California quake

Cracks are seen on a road running parallel to Highway 178 which heads north from Ridgecrest to Trona on July 4, 2019. - Southern California was hit by its largest earthquake in two decades Friday, a 7.1-magnitude tremor that rattled residents less than 48 hours after another quake struck the same area. The shallow earthquake hit a sparsely populated area near the small town of Ridgecrest, around 150 miles (240 kilometers) northeast of Los Angeles, where it was also felt. (Photo by Frederic J. BROWN / AFP) (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES — A powerful July 4 earthquake in the Southern California desert might have killed a man in neighboring Nevada, authorities said Tuesday.

It would be the first death linked to the magnitude 6.4 quake near Ridgecrest that was felt far and wide.

The Nye County Sheriff’s Department said deputies on Tuesday found a 56-year-old man pinned under a Jeep in Pahrump, about 150 miles from the quake’s epicenter.

The man was last seen alive at a local gas station the day before the earthquake.

It is believed the man was working on the Jeep, which apparently fell off of its jacks when the quake hit, Sgt. Adam Tippets said.

The man’s name wasn’t immediately released.

No other deaths or serious injuries have been linked to the quake or to a magnitude 7.1 temblor that struck the same Mojave Desert area on Friday.

However, the quakes buckled highways, cracked buildings and ruptured gas lines that sparked several house fires.

A sprawling Navy base near Ridgecrest remained closed to nonessential personnel Tuesday as the military worked to determine damage.

Teams had so far surveyed just 10% of the 1,200 facilities at Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, spokeswoman Margo Allen said. It was unclear when personnel and their families will be able to return.

Water and gas service had been restored at the base, but engineers were ensuring buildings were safe to enter. The shaking cracked walls in a chapel and school and brought down commissary shelves, Allen said.

“Everything came off the walls. There’s a lot of cleaning up that still has to happen,” she said.

One person suffered a minor foot injury.

Officials said most employees live off base, mainly in Ridgecrest. Some personnel were evacuated to the naval base in Ventura County.

Officials were still reviewing damage Tuesday in communities outside the base.

It could be several more days before water service is restored to the tiny town of Trona, where officials trucked in portable toilets and showers.

President Donald Trump on Monday declared an emergency in California because of the quakes, paving the way for federal aid.

The declaration authorized the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate disaster relief efforts.

The large quakes were followed by thousands of smaller aftershocks. The U.S. Geological Survey said the aftershocks will taper off, and the probability of another large quake — magnitude 4 or higher — also will decrease.

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