Moore County power outages caused by vandals resulted in accidents, emergencies

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The power outages in Moore County that started Saturday evening, suspected to have been intentionally caused by vandals, resulted in accidents and emergencies across the area.

The damage was to electrical substations in the county, prompting law enforcement officers to accompany crews Saturday night sent to make repairs. Two substations were damaged by gunfire, Mike Cameron, Southern Pines’ assistant town manager and fire chief, told The News & Observer on Sunday.

Jeff Brooks, a spokesman with Duke Energy, said on Sunday that power might not be restored until Monday.

“There is some damaged equipment that has to be repaired or replaced and it is possible this outage could be extended past today,” he told The N&O..

Earlier in the day on Saturday, protesters had gathered outside the Sunrise Theater in downtown Southern Pines, upset about a drag queen show planned for the small venue Saturday night.

Here’s a rundown of the emergencies we’ve learned of, caused by vandalized substations:

Moore Regional Hospital switched to generator power Saturday night and was still operating on backup power on Sunday.

“The Moore campus is safely operating on backup generator power and we have not experienced any issues or concerns,” Gretchen Kelly said. A message to staff said that the outage did not affect patients.

Car acccidents: The power outage caused several car accidents, Cameron told The N&O, including a four-car crash in Southern Pines that happened when stop lights went dark at an intersection. That accident occurred at the intersection of Morganton Road and U.S. 15-501 in Southern Pines and sent four people to the hospital with minor injuries.

No working traffic lights: A Facebook post by Southern Pines Fire & Rescue noted that there are no working traffic lights there. NCDOT has since been putting up temporary stop signs to help with traffic navigation, Cameron said.

Emergency services: Firefighters were busy responding to residents concerned about how the outage would affect vital medical equipment, Cameron said, while police responded to triggered alarms and reports of break-ins, Cameron said.

Fire, police, water and sewer services are all operating on generators, he said.

Cold weather, no heat: Temperatures were in the low 40s overnight Saturday into Sunday morning in Southern Pines, and Sunday’s overnight forecast dips below freezing into Monday morning.

Help for those in Moore County

Charging stations: The Southern Pines Police Department has opened its C. Michael Haney Community Room to the public for charging electronic devices. Location: 450 W. Pennsylvania Ave, Southern Pines.

Anyone with any information about the vandalism should contact the Moore County Sheriff’s Office at 910-947-2931.