In what is being investigated as a criminal act, a shooting damaged two power substations in a county in North Carolina, leaving tens of thousands of people without energy and causing damage that might take days to restore.
Due to persistent disruptions that started just after 7 p.m., Authorities in Moore County declared a state of emergency on Saturday, imposing a curfew from 9 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. on Sunday.
Schools in the county were also closed on Monday.
Gov. Roy Cooper stated on Twitter that an attack on vital infrastructure was a severe and purposeful crime and expected state and federal officials to conduct a thorough investigation and bring those responsible to justice.
At a press conference on Sunday, Moore County Sheriff Ronnie Fields stated that the authorities had established no motive.
The sheriff noted that it looked gates were breached at both locations. He claimed that someone pulled up and “opened fire on the substation, the same thing with the second one.”
An access road in Southern Pines was found to have a snapped wooden post supporting a gate from one of the substations, according to Sunday morning’s story in The Pilot newspaper.
Fields stated, “We’re looking at all options. No group has stood out to acknowledge or accept that they’re the ones that did it.”
The sheriff stated that the FBI was collaborating with state detectives to identify the perpetrators.
“It was targeted,” he added.
It wasn’t random, according to Fields.
Vandals wielding firearms are suspected of causing a major power outage across a North Carolina county that has plunged about 45,000 customers into darkness amid freezing temperatures. @MonaKAbdi reports. https://t.co/H5KwB1XWim pic.twitter.com/MEO5Db6dPC
— Good Morning America (@GMA) December 5, 2022
According to Fields, overnight security is being provided by law enforcement at the substations and for the companies.
We’ll have people there all night long tonight, Fields promised.
According to poweroutage.us, the number of electric customers without power in the county on Monday morning was about 35,400, a significant decrease from the peak of the outages.
The county also opened a shelter at a sports center in Carthage due to Sunday night’s chilly conditions.
According to Duke Energy spokesman Jeff Brooks, multiple pieces of equipment were destroyed and will need to be replaced.
He warned customers that disruptions might persist for days even while the firm is working to restore electricity as quickly as possible.
“We do want inhabitants of the town to be prepared that this will be a multiday restoration for most customers, maybe extending as far as Thursday,” Brooks said at the news conference.
“We are looking at a highly intricate repair with reasonably heavy equipment.
The county’s school chief, Dr. Tim Locklear, announced that Monday’s classes would be canceled.
We’ll be taking those decisions day by day as we move forward, according to Locklear.
About an hour’s drive southwest of Raleigh, the county has 100,000 residents and is well-known for its golf resorts at Pinehurst and surrounding areas.