The sound of gunshots which prompted reports of an active shooter at a North Carolina high school may have been caused by a malfunctioning water heater.
The county school system notified parents of a reported active shooter in a tweet.
The sheriff's spokesman said law enforcement officers were still searching the campus as a precaution but preliminary reports indicate that it was faulty equipment.
According to the Pender County Sherrif's Office, it is an active scene, with multiple units already at Topsail High School and others en route.
However Commissioner George Brown told WECT there is a malfunctioning piece of equipment at the school that sounds like gunfire when it makes a noise.
Earlier this morning, a parent told WWAY he received a call from the school district this morning that all schools on the eastern side of the county are on lockdown. The school district asked staff from Topsail elementary, middle and high schools to meet at the grocery store.
Live footage shows numerous law enforcement agencies now at the school where the scene remains active.
But WECT News reported that there may have been some students on campus when the incident was reported around 7 a.m.
School buses have been corralled at the Lowes Foods parking lot across from the school campus.
Topsail High School is located near the coast in Hampstead, about 20 miles (32 kilometers) north of Wilmington.