After two power substations in North Carolina came under gunfire on Saturday, tens of thousands of customers are without power. Outages are expected to last until Thursday, according to Duke Energy.
The twin attacks took place shortly after 7pm Saturday in Moore County, a rural area about 90 miles east of Charlotte. The area is popular among retirees and is home to the golf mecca of Pinehurst.
As temperatures were expected to dip to 30 degrees, more than 35,000 customers were still without power late Sunday night, according to poweroutage.us. That’s 56% of the county’s customers. Meanwhile, a Southern Pines town manager told the News & Observer that the outage has already caused several accidents, including a four-vehicle collision that sent four to a hospital with minor injuries.
A state of emergency has been declared, and along with it, a countywide curfew from 9pm to 5am. The curfew is initially slated to last through 5pm on Friday Dec 4. “It’s a very serious situation” and the curfew is needed “to protect our citizens and protect the businesses of our county,” said Moore County Sheriff Ronnie Fields at a Sunday press conference. Schools will be closed at least on Monday.
After the substations went off line, responding power crews found “extensive damage,” and “evidence at the scene indicated that firearms had been used to disable the equipment,” said Fields.
Asked if the attack seemed intended to shut down the county’s power, Fields said the perpetrators “knew exactly what they were doing.” It appears at least one gate to a substation was demolished by whoever perpetrated the attack, with a thick support pole snapped off at ground level.
“No group has stepped up to acknowledge or accept that they’re the ones that done it,” said Fields. “We’re looking at all avenues.”
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