‘Active shooter’ was just a faulty water heater
Police responded Friday morning to reports of an active shooter at Topsail High School in eastern North Carolina, but officials later determined a faulty water heater was to blame for the scare, according to local reports.
“There’s no active shooter,” said Pender County Emergency Management Director Tom Collins, reported the StarNews in Wilmington. “It’s a malfunctioning water heater.”
The county school system notified parents of a reported active shooter in a tweet. Authorities were alerted around 6:30 a.m., according to ABC11, The News & Observer’s media partner.
School buses headed for the school were being diverted to a nearby Lowe’s grocery parking lot.
Topsail High School is about 105 miles southeast of Raleigh. It shares a campus with a middle school and an elementary school.
The Wilmington Star News reported that a school employee called 911 to describe a noise that sounded like shooting behind the school. When law enforcement arrived seven minutes later, they heard loud pops coming from the building’s roof.
The gas to the hot water heater was turned off as officers swept the building, then turned back on. Within five minutes, a pair of officers had identified the noise coming from the water heater as the one they’d heard upon arrival, the newspaper reported.