AP

North Carolina blackouts caused by shootings could last days

Dec 4, 2022, 11:19 PM | Updated: Dec 6, 2022, 10:39 am

Eden Maracco, 8, has lunch her dad Jeffery while power is out at her home, at Reds Food Truck Corne...

Eden Maracco, 8, has lunch her dad Jeffery while power is out at her home, at Reds Food Truck Corner in Southern Pines, N.C., Monday, Dec. 5, 2022. Tens of thousands of people braced for days without electricity in a North Carolina county where authorities say two power substations were shot up by one or more people with apparent criminal intent. (AP Photo/Karl B DeBlaker)

(AP Photo/Karl B DeBlaker)

CARTHAGE, N.C. (AP) — Tens of thousands of people braced Monday for days without electricity in a North Carolina county where authorities say two power substations were shot up by one or more people with apparent criminal intent.

Across Moore County, many businesses and restaurants displayed “Closed” signs in windows and had empty parking lots at a time of year when they are normally full of tourists and holiday shoppers. Others handed out free food or coffee, or were able to open by conducting transactions in cash.

The county, located about 60 miles (95 kilometers) southwest of the state capital of Raleigh, announced schools would be closed Tuesday for a second day.

Duke Energy has restored power to roughly 9,000 customers after a peak of about 45,000 customers were without electricity in the county of about 100,000 inhabitants. Jeff Brooks, a Duke spokesman, said recovery will be gradual, noting “a pretty sophisticated repair with some fairly large equipment” will continue into Thursday.

Gov. Roy Cooper said state and federal investigators “are leaving no stone unturned in this investigation to find those who are responsible.

“Protecting critical infrastructure like our power system must be a top priority,” Cooper said at a news conference. “This kind of attack raises a new level of threat. We will be evaluating ways to work with our utility providers and our state and federal officials to make sure that we harden our infrastructure where necessary.”

Moore County Sheriff Ronnie Fields declined to elaborate Monday about the shootings other than to say the damage was done by gunfire. But whoever was responsible, he said, “knew exactly what they were doing to … cause the outage that they did.”

Meanwhile, traffic lights were out countywide. Drivers treated intersections as four-way stops, snarling traffic in places such as downtown Carthage amid a consistent hum of honks at each nonfunctional light.

Noah Hartford, an 18-year-old civil engineering student at Sandhills Community College, said his family has been struggling to stay warm since losing power at their home in Aberdeen. Temperatures dropped below freezing early Monday, and lows in the 40s were expected during the week.

“It’s real cold,” Hartford said as he warmed beside a fire pit in nearby Southern Pines. “It’s just me, my mom and my brother. We have a fire and stuff outside and a fireplace, but we’re really hoping we get the heat back soon.”

Kalai and Christine Balutski of Pinebluff sat under a heater Monday morning drinking warm beverages at the Red’s Corner food truck lot in Southern Pines. The couple has been without power since 7 p.m. Saturday. They said they have been driving to restaurants the next county over to eat warm meals and watch football while awaiting updates.

“We got two dogs at home, so we can’t just up and leave,” Kalai Balutski said. “We’re working off of a power brick to keep our phones charged and candles in one room to keep it warm enough to sleep.”

Bundled in a beanie, boots and a Pittsburgh Steelers jacket, Christine Balutski said she has been struggling to get work done for her remote IT job for the hospital system without home WiFi access.

About 20 people spent the night at an emergency shelter at the county sports complex in Carthage, said Phil Harris, executive director of the local American Red Cross chapter. Harris said plenty more have stopped by for food, warmth or to charge their devices.

“If you’ve got no power, you probably don’t have any heat, so with winter weather coming in, it’s a nice place to stay,” Harris said.

The Pinehurst Resort & Country Club also was affected. With limited power generation capability at The Carolina Hotel, the resort consolidated all guests into rooms with available power. Golf courses remained open but the main clubhouse was closed.

Golf is played year-round in the Sandhills region and the Pinehurst resort is the No. 3 employer in Moore County — behind the local hospital and school systems, according to government employment data. Moore County generated a record in visitor spending in 2021, leading to an economic impact of $673 million from the tourism industry, the county’s economic development office said.

Moore County has dozens of golf courses, anchored by nine at the Pinehurst Resort. Pinehurst’s famed No. 2 course has hosted three men’s U.S. Opens. The World Golf Hall of Fame is also moving soon from Florida to Pinehurst.

Andrew Wilkins, a conservation advocate who grew up in Moore County, was driving Saturday night from Washington to his parents’ small farm in Whispering Pines when he noticed the street lights were out in Carthage. He arrived to a “pitch black street.”

Wilkins spent the weekend helping his parents prepare for cold nights without heat, and linked a generator to their well to pump fresh drinking water.

Said Wilkins, “People are going to really feel the pinch from this as it goes on.”

___

Hannah Schoenbaum is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.

___

Associated Press writer Gary D. Robertson in Raleigh, North Carolina, contributed to this report.

___ A previous version of this report incorrectly said Pinehurst Resort has eight golf courses instead of nine.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

A demonstrator in Tel Aviv holds a sign calling for a cease-fire in the Hamas-Israel war on Nov. 21...

Associated Press

Hamas releases a third group of hostages as part of truce, and says it will seek to extend the deal

The fragile cease-fire between Israel and Hamas was back on track Sunday as the first American was released under a four-day truce.

3 days ago

Men look over the site of a deadly explosion at Al-Ahli Hospital in Gaza City, Wednesday, Oct. 18, ...

Associated Press

New AP analysis of last month’s deadly Gaza hospital explosion rules out widely cited video

The Associated Press is publishing an updated visual analysis of the deadly Oct. 17 explosion at Gaza's Al-Ahli Hospital.

6 days ago

Peggy Simpson holds a photograph of law enforcement carrying Lee Harvey Oswald's gun through a hall...

Associated Press

JFK assassination remembered 60 years later by surviving witnesses to history, including AP reporter

Peggy Simpson is among the last surviving witnesses who are sharing their stories as the nation marks the 60th anniversary.

7 days ago

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, chairs the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, Sunday, ...

Associated Press

Israeli Cabinet approves cease-fire with Hamas; deal includes release of 50 hostages

Israel’s Cabinet on Wednesday approved a cease-fire deal with the Hamas militant group that would bring a temporary halt to a devastating war.

7 days ago

Republican presidential candidate and former President Donald Trump helps serve food to Texas Natio...

Associated Press

Trump receives endorsement from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott during a visit to a US-Mexico border town

Donald Trump picked up the Texas governor’s endorsement Sunday during a visit to a U.S.-Mexico border town.

9 days ago

Eric Trump, executive vice president of Trump Organization Inc., speaks to the media as he leaves f...

Associated Press

Lawyers in Trump’s civil fraud trial are ordered to clam up about judge’s communications with staff

Eric Trump testified Friday that he was relying on accountants to ensure the accuracy of financial statements.

26 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Follow @KTAR923...

Valley residents should be mindful of plumbing ahead of holidays

With Halloween in the rear-view and more holidays coming up, Day & Night recommends that Valley residents prepare accordingly.

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University: innovating Arizona health care education

Midwestern University’s Glendale Campus near Loop 101 and 59th Avenue is an established leader in health care education and one of Arizona’s largest and most valuable health care resources.

...

SCHWARTZ LASER EYE CENTER

Key dates for Arizona sports fans to look forward to this fall

Fall brings new beginnings in different ways for Arizona’s professional sports teams like the Cardinals and Coyotes.

North Carolina blackouts caused by shootings could last days