Moore County Sheriff’s Office / Screenshot by NPR
A county in North Carolina is in a state of emergency following a mass blackout that could leave tens of thousands of people without power for days to come. The power outage, which authorities believe was caused by an intentional firearm, is currently being investigated as a criminal offence.
County Sheriff Ronnie Fields said at a news conference Sunday afternoon: “Last night, we faced something, here in Moore County, that we have never faced before. this. “But I promise you, we’ll get through this and we’ll get through it together.”
The county is also under a curfew from 9 p.m. Sunday to 5 a.m. Monday. According to the sheriff, the countywide curfew may be in place for the next few days. The Moore County Park and Recreation Sports Complex is currently operating as a shelter while schools are closed on Monday.
Mass power outages across Moore County, about an hour outside Raleigh, began shortly after 7 p.m. Saturday after multiple substations were damaged by what authorities described in a statement. statement is “intentionally sabotage.” Duke Energy spokesman Jeff Brooks said at the conference that the substations would require “complicated repairs”, requiring new equipment and could take up to Thursday to complete.
Nearly 40,000 customers in the county remained without power Sunday night, according to poweroutage.us.
North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis said officials were determined to find out who caused the blackout and urged residents to stay home.
“This appears to be a deliberate, intentional and malicious act,” he said. “And the perpetrators will be brought to justice and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
Tillis also urged residents to abide by the curfew.
“It will be very, very dark and it will be cold tonight,” he said. “And we don’t need to have anyone on the street.”