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Lights back on for Californians after earthquake

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'It was a violent shake'
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Utility helicopters patrolling for possible gas line breaks caused by quake
  • At height of 6.5-magnitude quake, nearly 28,000 California residents were without power
  • Quake hit offshore Saturday about 33 miles from Eureka
  • California residents describe ground rolling beneath them
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Los Angeles, California (CNN) -- Officials had power fully restored Sunday afternoon after a 6.5-magnitude earthquake off the northern California coast Saturday left thousands without electricity.

The quake, which ran about 13.5 miles deep, hit at 4:27 p.m. Saturday, about 33 miles from the coastal city of Eureka, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Nearly a dozen aftershocks followed, the strongest at 4.5 magnitude. They continued into the early morning hours Sunday.

David Eisenhower, spokesman for Pacific Gas and Electric Company, said power had been restored to all customers Sunday afternoon. About 28,000 customers, most in Humboldt County, were initially without power.

The company launched helicopters Sunday morning to patrol for gas leaks at the transmission lines that run through remote areas, he said, adding there have been no reports of such leaks.

There were no reports of serious injuries or damage.

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St. Joseph Hospital in Eureka said it treated several people for minor quake-related injuries, but none were significant enough for the patient to be admitted.

Chris Durant, a reporter for the Eureka Times-Standard, said he was working on the second floor of the newspaper's concrete building when he and his colleagues felt the earthquake.

"We are used to feeling small ones," he said, "but after the first few seconds, we looked at each other and said, 'This is not a small one.'"

Eureka resident Cole Machado told CNN he was talking on the phone when he felt the ground shake. "I thought my TV was going to fall over."

Tom Grinsell, the fire chief in the nearby town of Ferndale, said it was "one of the strongest quakes I remember in quite a while. I assumed it was going to be a lot worse than we're seeing."

He said the quake had a "strong shaking to it and was rather lengthy."

Grinsell said his department has received numerous calls about broken glass, emptied shelves, and stucco and plaster knocked off walls. He added that the damage is cosmetic and that no buildings have collapsed.

Grinsell said officials have asked residents to stay off the roads because of debris, and to conserve water until it's certain there is no damage to the water system.

Ferndale resident Jessica Stephens Tucker described the movement from the temblor: "It rolled and rolled and then it slammed."

Dave Magni, owner of the Ivanhoe Hotel in Ferndale, said, "We are sitting in a sea of booze" after the quake.

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A 6.5-magnitude quake is considered "strong", said CNN meteorologist Jacqui Jeras, who noted that about 120 earthquakes of that strength are recorded worldwide each year.

CNN's Dina Majoli, Nick Valencia, Steve Brusk, Samira Simone, Leslie Tripp and Greg Morrison contributed to this report.

 
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