CARTHAGE, N.C. (AP) — Two substations in one North Carolina county were shot at Authorities said the crime, which is under investigation, caused damage that could take days to repair and left tens of thousands without power.
In response to the ongoing power outage in Moore County that began just after 7 p.m. Saturday, officials declared a state of emergency, including a curfew from 9 p.m. Sunday to 5 a.m. Monday. Additionally, county schools were closed Monday.
“An attack on critical infrastructure like this is a serious intentional crime, and I hope state and federal authorities will investigate thoroughly and bring the perpetrators to justice,” the governor said. Roy Cooper tweeted.
Moore County Sheriff Ronnie Fields said at a news conference Sunday that authorities have not yet determined a motive for the shooting. He said someone stopped and “fired at the substation, as did another.” The sheriff said gates at both locations appeared to have been breached. The Pilot newspaper in Southern Pines reported that a gatepost at one of the substations had snapped off and was lying on an access road Sunday morning.
“No group has come forward and admitted or accepted that they did it,” Fields said, adding “we’re looking at every avenue.”
The sheriff noted that the FBI is working with state investigators to determine who is responsible. He also said “it was targeted”.
“It’s not random,” Fields said.
Fields said law enforcement provided security at substations and businesses overnight.
“We’re going to be there 24/7 tonight,” Fields said.
About 35,400 electric customers in the county were without power Monday morning, thousands fewer than at the peak of the outage, according to poweroutage.us.
The county also opened a shelter at a sports complex in Carthage due to cooler temperatures Sunday night.
Multiple pieces of equipment were damaged and had to be replaced, Duke Energy spokesman Jeff Brooks said. He said while the company was working to restore power as quickly as possible, he was bracing for customers for an outage that could last several days.
“We’re looking at some pretty complex repairs to some pretty big pieces of equipment, so we really want the people of the town to be prepared, it’s going to be a multi-day fix for most customers, probably,” Brooks said in the news. will be extended through Thursday.” meeting.
Dr. Tim Locklear, the county’s superintendent of schools, announced the cancellation of classes on Monday.
“If we move forward, we’re going to be making these decisions day in and day out,” Locklear said.
The county, with a population of approximately 100,000, is about an hour southwest of Raleigh and is known for its golf resorts in Pinehurst and other communities.
Andrew Wilkins, an environmental advocate who grew up in Moore County, spotted all the streetlights in Carthage County on a Saturday night drive from Washington to his parents’ small farm in Whispering Pines All went out. He came to a “dark street” with little information on the cause or extent of the outage.
“When the power is cut off, the flow of information is cut off,” Wilkins told The Associated Press.
He spent the weekend helping his parents hook up a generator to their well for fresh drinking water and get them ready for cold nights without a heater. Local grocery stores, such as Food Lion and Harris Teeter, have been distributing drinks, ice and pantry items to those without power, he said.
“Their home, like many rural homes, relies on the well for fresh, clean water, and it’s powered by electricity,” Wilkins said. “So when the power goes out, the well stops working, and when the well stops working , we will slowly lose the pressure until we completely lose the water. As things continue, people will really feel the pressure.”
Wilkins described Southern Pines as a “tight-knit” and “vibrant” community of military families, farmers and small business owners who did everything they could to support each other during the outage. He said his neighbors were stockpiling refrigerated medicines for a local pharmacy that was without power.
Hannah Schoenbaum is a member of the Associated Press/US State House News Initiative.US report is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to cover undisclosed issues.