Officials in a North Carolina county where 40,000 customers are without power say two power substations were damaged by the shooting Saturday night.
Mike Cameron of the Southern Pines Fire and Rescue Department told CNN Sunday afternoon that a gate at one location appeared to have been taken off its hinges.
CNN previously reported that the power outage in Moore County was being investigated as a “criminal incident” after crews found signs of potential vandalism at several locations.
Moore County officials have scheduled a press conference for Sunday at 4 p.m.
Cameron said emergency calls are increasing in the area because of the lack of power, adding that auto accidents have occurred because traffic lights are out. He said emergency calls were made by people dependent on oxygen.
Initially, local officials estimated power could be restored by Sunday evening, but after assessing the damage, they determined it could take at least until Monday, Cameron said.
Damaged equipment is not easily replaced and has to be brought in for repairs, Cameron said.
According to a press release from grocery chain Harris Teeter, a local supermarket is distributing ice to affected residents.
Several communities across the county began experiencing power outages shortly after 7 p.m. Saturday, the Moore County Sheriff’s Office said in a Facebook post.
“As utility companies began responding to various substations, evidence was discovered indicating that intentional vandalism had occurred at multiple sites,” the office said.
At least two substations were vandalized with “criminal intent,” US Representative Richard Hudson said in a statement Sunday morning.
The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation and the FBI are responding, according to Hudson. He said the motive was still unknown.
Hudson, whose congressional district includes Moore County, said the Southern Pines Police Department has opened a community center for residents to charge devices.
CNN reached out to Southern Pines police and the FBI.
More than 38,000 customers were without power across the county Sunday morning, according to the Duke Energy outage map. About 41,000 customers lost power in Moore County and neighboring Hoke County, according to poweroutage.us.
Duke Energy spokesman Jeff Brooks told CNN affiliate WRAL that crews were experiencing “multiple equipment failures” affecting substations in Moore County.
“We are also investigating signs of potential vandalism associated with the outages,” Brooks said.
Representatives and officers from other law enforcement agencies responded to various sites to provide security, the sheriff’s office said.
Governor Roy Cooper tweeted on Sunday State law enforcement joins the investigation.
“I have spoken with Duke Energy and state law enforcement officials regarding the power outage in Moore County. They are investigating and working to restore power to those affected,” Cooper said. “The state is providing support as needed.”
Moore County is located in central North Carolina, about 50 miles northwest of Fayetteville.