A state of emergency is in effect in a North Carolina County after two power substations were fired at and left riddled with bullets, plunging thousands of homes into darkness, officials said Sunday.
No one knows who launched the attack Saturday on the equipment — which left over 40,000 people in the dark — but the incident in Moore County is being probed as intentional and a criminal act, authorities said.
“No group has stepped up to acknowledge or accept that they’re the ones that done it,” Moore County Sheriff Ronnie Fields said during a press conference, adding the FBI was working with state investigators to locate whoever is responsible.
Fields said someone “opened fire on the substation, the same thing with the other one,” though no motive for the crime was determined yet.
The lights began going out just around 7 p.m. Saturday.
He called the attack “targeted” and said law enforcement would provide security for the substations and business overnight.
“We faced something last night here in Moore County that we never faced before,” Fields said. “But I promise you we will get through this.”
About 37,000 customers in the county still were without power Sunday night, according to poweroutage.us.
The loss of power has forced a curfew in the area lasting from 9 p.m. Sunday until 5 a.m. Monday.
That curfew could continue into the week as long as the emergency order is in place.
All county schools were also closed Monday.
“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,” North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper posted on Twitter.
A local sports complex would act as a shelter Sunday night with frigid temperatures expected as Duke Energy spokesperson Jeff Brooks said customers could be without power for days.
Workers need to replace several pieces of equipment that were damaged, he said.
“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 press conference.
With Post wires
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