Theres no active shooter, county emergency management director Tom Collins told Star News. Its a malfunctioning water heater.
He said the sound of the water heater popping sounded like an “AR-15 [semiautomatic rifle] going off.
But the reports of the sound promoted a school lockdown and a massive police presence at Topsail High School, located in Pender County.
Heater malfunction mistaken for gunfire at high school
Several people on the roof of Topsail High School in North Carolina near Wilmington after a report of an active shooter. According to @wectnews, it may be a SWAT team but there are no immediate reports of injuries. All the local schools are on lockdown. pic.twitter.com/bBrm2VWbIP
The parent of a child who attends Topsail High School told WWAY that he received a call from the school district telling him all schools on the eastern side of Pender County were lockdown.
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The high school is in the town of town of Hampstead and part of Pender County, around 177 kilometres southeast of the North Carolina’s capital, Raleigh.
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Collins said a popping sound from the heater “sounded just like an AR-15 (semiautomatic rifle) going off,” the newspaper reported. It prompted evacuations and lockdowns at Topsail High School in the unincorporated town of Hampstead.
HAMPSTEAD, N.C. — A county official says reports of an active shooter at a school in North Carolina on Friday turned out to be malfunctioning water heater.
Reports of an “active shooter” situation at a North Carolina high school on Friday was a false alarm caused by a faulty water heater that sounded like machine gun fire, local media reported.
Pender County Emergency Management Director Tom Collins told The Star-News that noise from the water heater was taken for the sound of gunfire at Topsail High School on Friday morning.
"Theres no active shooter," Collins said. "Its a malfunctioning water heater."
The earlier report of shots fired provoked a massive response by law enforcement and caused the school district to reroute buses and put schools on lockdown.
"Law enforcement responded immediately and it has been determined there is no shooter and no weapon," Pender County schools said via its Twitter account.
Cops storm high school in North Carolina amid reports of active shooter just a day after 12 people were gun
"Pender County Schools is thankful everyone is safe and thanks local emergency services for its immediate response," the district said. Topsail High, Topsail Middle, and Topsail Elementary remain on lockdown.
The school district added that the report of an active shooter came after "noises were heard coming from the top of the building."
Active shooter reported at Topsail High School in North Carolina; Deputy says no injuries reported
Capt. James Rowell of the Pender County Sheriffs Office was quoted by WTVD-TV as saying that deputies swept the school but found no evidence that any shots had been fired.
He said deputies did find an HVAC unit that was malfunctioning and making sounds similar to gunshots.