CARTHAGE, NC (AP) – Two North Carolina power plants have been 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 dead. without power, officials said Sunday. .
In response to the ongoing outage, which began just after 7pm Saturday across Moore County, authorities have declared a state of emergency that includes a curfew from 9pm on Sunday to 5am on Monday. Also, district schools will be closed on Monday.
“An attack like this on critical infrastructure is a serious, deliberate crime and I expect the federal and state authorities to fully investigate and bring those responsible to justice,” Gov. Roy Cooper wrote on Twitter.
Moore County Sheriff Ronnie Fields said at a news conference Sunday that officials have not made a decision. He said someone got up and “opened fire at the station, something like that.”
“No group has taken the initiative to acknowledge or accept that they did it,” Fields said, adding “we’re looking at all avenues.”
The sheriff noted that the FBI is working with federal investigators to determine who is responsible. He added that “it was meant to be.”
“It wasn’t random,” Fields said.
Fields said law enforcement provides protection to small establishments and businesses overnight.
“We’re going to have people tonight tonight,” Fields said.
About 36,000 electric customers in the state were without power Sunday evening, according to poweroutage.us.
With freezing temperatures forecast for Sunday night, the district also opened a shelter at the Carthage sports complex.
Duke Energy spokesman Jeff Brooks said most of the equipment was damaged and will have to be replaced. He said that while the company is trying to restore electricity as soon as possible, he encouraged customers for the possibility of blackouts in the coming days.
“We are looking at an advanced repair with large equipment, so we want the residents of the city to be prepared that this will be a multi-day operation for many customers, which may last until Thursday,” said Brooks in the news. meeting.
Dr. Tim Locklear, the district’s superintendent of schools, announced that classes will be canceled on Monday.
“As we move forward, we’ll be taking it day by day to make those decisions,” Locklear said.
The Pilot newspaper in Southern Pines reported that one of its reporters saw the gate of one of the substations damaged and lying in the driveway.
“It was clear that the pole that raised the gate was broken where it meets the ground. The infrastructure of the station was badly damaged,” the newspaper reported.
The county of about 100,000 people sits about an hour’s drive southwest of Raleigh and is known for its golf resorts in Pinehurst and other towns.