Crews discovered evidence that substations were “deliberately” destroyed by gunshot, according to police, which led to the emergency declaration and the power outages that left some 40,000 customers in North Carolina without power on Saturday night.
Around 7 p.m. on Saturday, Moore County residents first noticed an outage. It quickly expanded throughout the county’s central and southern regions, cutting power to homes and businesses.
According to the Moore County Sheriff’s Office, responding utility employees discovered evidence of possible equipment vandalism at various locations, including two substations that had sustained bullet damage.
As technicians labor to complete expensive repairs that are anticipated to last through Thursday, federal and state authorities are now actively involved in an investigation to identify a suspect or suspects in the case.
According to the Duke Energy outage map, more than 33,000 customers were still without power in the county as of Sunday night. The substations were “targeted,” according to Moore County Sheriff Ronnie Fields, and the attacks were “deliberate.” What is known regarding the outages is as follows
Sheriff: Substation attacks weren’t random
Multiple bullets were fired at the two substations, according to the sheriff. It wasn’t random; it was targeted, he added. The perpetrator(s) “knew exactly what they were doing,” according to Fields.
Additionally, a gate at one of the places appeared to have been removed from its hinges, according to CNN’s interview with Southern Pines Fire and Rescue Department Assistant Chief Mike Cameron.
Although the sheriff declined to declare if the illegal action amounted to domestic terrorism, he did observe that “no group has stood up to acknowledge or accept they’re the ones who [did it].”
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There is no known suspect or reason.
No suspects had been named in the investigation as of early Monday. It’s also not known if the location of the damaged substations had any security cameras. The reason is likewise still a mystery. The sheriff remarked, “We have no idea why Moore County.”
Sheriff addressed neighborhood gossip
Fields addressed the social media allegations that the attack was an effort to stop a nearby drag show. According to Fields, investigators “have not been able to tie anything back to the drag show,” which was planned to start at 7 p.m. on Saturday in Southern Pines and end about the time the power went out.
The Sunrise Theater, where the event was to take place, and the Southern Pines Police Department have both been contacted by CNN. The group sponsoring Saturday’s drag event, Sandhills Pride, has also been contacted by CNN.
It will cost millions to repair the damage.
The damage is severe, and according to Jeff Brooks, Duke Energy’s chief communications manager, repairs might not be finished until Thursday. “That was not an option in this case, unlike, perhaps, a hurricane when you could go in and reroute power somewhere else,” Brooks said. Some of that equipment will frequently need to be replaced.
Although the utility is striving to quickly restore power, Brooks said that “we are looking at really complicated restoration with some fairly substantial equipment.” The sheriff stated on Sunday that the anticipated cost of the substation damage is in the millions.
what the local government is doing
The county imposed a curfew from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. beginning Sunday night after the sheriff’s office said Saturday night that it appeared the outage was deliberate. Sunday saw the opening of a generator-powered shelter for those who must wait many days for power to return to their homes and places of business.
All Monday classes at the county’s schools were canceled as a result of the power loss, according to officials. Moore County Schools tweeted on Sunday afternoon, “An announcement will be issued tomorrow evening to inform parents and employees of the status of schools on Tuesday.”