Outages May Last Days After Shootings 12/05 06:20
(AP) -- Two power substations in a North Carolina county were damaged by
gunfire in what is being investigated as a criminal act, causing damage that
could take days to repair and leaving tens of thousands of people without
electricity, authorities said.
In response to ongoing outages, which began just after 7 p.m. Saturday
across Moore County, officials announced a state of emergency that included a
curfew from 9 p.m. Sunday to 5 a.m. Monday. Also, county schools were closed
"An attack like this on critical infrastructure is a serious, intentional
crime and I expect state and federal authorities to thoroughly investigate and
bring those responsible to justice," Gov. Roy Cooper wrote on Twitter.
Moore County Sheriff Ronnie Fields said at a Sunday news conference that
authorities have not determined a motivation. He said someone pulled up and
"opened fire on the substation, the same thing with the other one."
"No group has stepped up to acknowledge or accept that they're the ones that
done it," Fields said, adding "we're looking at all avenues."
The sheriff noted that the FBI was working with state investigators to
determine who was responsible. He also said "it was targeted."
"It wasn't random," Fields said.
Fields said law enforcement is providing security at the substations and for
"We will have folks out there tonight around the clock," Fields said.
Roughly 35,400 electric customers in the county were without power on Monday
morning, down by several thousand from the peak of the outages, according to
With cold temperatures Sunday night, the county also opened a shelter at a
sports complex in Carthage.
Duke Energy spokesman Jeff Brooks said multiple pieces of equipment were
damaged and will have to be replaced. He said while the company is trying to
restore power as quickly as possible, he braced customers for the potential of
outages lasting days.
"We are looking at a pretty sophisticated repair with some fairly large
equipment and so we do want citizens of the town to be prepared that this will
be a multiday restoration for most customers, extending potentially as long as
Thursday," Brooks said at the news conference.
Dr. Tim Locklear, the county's school superintendent, announced classes were
"As we move forward, we'll be taking it day by day in making those
decisions," Locklear said.
The county of approximately 100,000 people lies about an hour's drive
southwest of Raleigh and is known for golf resorts in Pinehurst and other
Andrew Wilkins, a conservation advocate who grew up in Moore County, was
driving Saturday night from Washington to his parents' small farm in Whispering
Pines when he noticed all the street lights were out in the county seat of
Carthage. He arrived to a "pitch black street" and little information about the
cause or scope of the blackout.
"When the power was cut, the flow of information was cut too," Wilkins told
The Associated Press.
He spent the weekend helping his parents link a generator to their well for
fresh drinking water and preparing them for cold nights without heat. Local
grocery stores, such as Food Lion and Harris Teeter, have been distributing
drinks, ice and pantry items to those who lost power, he said.
"Their home, like many rural homes, relies on a well for water for fresh,
clean water, and it's powered by electricity," Wilkins said. "So when the power
went out, the well stopped working, and when the well stops working, we slowly
lose pressure until we lose water altogether. People are going to really feel
the pinch from this as it goes on."
Wilkins described Southern Pines as a "tight-knit" and "vibrant" community
of military families, farmers and small businesses owners who have been doing
all they can to support one another during the power outages. His family's
neighbors, he said, are storing refrigerated medicines for a local pharmacy
that lost power.