Reports of active shooter turn out to be malfunctioning water heater

The Topsail High School campus in Hampstead is shut down and all other schools in eastern Pender County are on lockdown

The Topsail High School campus in Hampstead is shut down and all other schools in eastern Pender County are on lockdown

Law enforcement has responded to reports of an active shooter at Topsail High School Friday morning, authorities said.

According to Commissioner George Brown, a piece of equipment at the school campus, a water heater, has been malfunctioning in recent days, emitting a sound similar to gunfire.

The Topsail High School campus is shut down, with all access roads barricaded by law enforcement.

Armed police stormed a high school in North Carolina after noises made by a malfunctioning heater were mistaken for an active shooter.

The school is located in Hampstead in Pender County. Topsail Elementary, Middle, and High schools remain on lockdown.

Reports said that a malfunctioning heater sparked the reports of an active shooter.

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"We will update soon", Capt. James Rowell of the county sheriff's office said in an email.

When deputies arrived, they heard the sound of gunshots. "Pender County Schools is taking all precautions to ensure the safety of students and staff".

The lockdown for Topsail High, Middle and Elementary schools was lifted about 9:30 a.m. local time when staff members were allowed to enter.

All of the schools in the district have been placed in lock down.

Buses for those three schools are being staged at the Lowe's Foods across from the schools, and parents have been notified they can pick up their bus-riding children there.

Hampstead is about 20 miles north of the city of Wilmington.

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