Reports of an active shooter at Topsail High School are said to be due to faulty mechanical equipment.
School buses headed for the school were being diverted to a nearby Lowe's grocery parking lot.
However, after police investigated the scene, they determined there was no active shooter and that the noises heard inside the school were from a water heater that was loudly malfunctioning.
He said deputies did find an HVAC unit that was malfunctioning and making sounds similar to gunshots.
Brown said that apparently there is a defective steam water heater that causes a piece of equipment to slam shut, causing a loud noise that sounds like gunfire.More news: "We All Just Trampled", California Bar Shooting Survivor Recalls
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Authorities in North Carolina have responded to reports of an active shooter at a high school.
According to local news outlets, this is the second time this year the high school has had reports of a gun-related incident.
The Topsail High School campus in Hampstead is shut down, and all other schools in eastern Pender County are on lockdown.
James Rowell with the Pender County Sheriff's Office confirmed there were no reports of injuries Friday.
It shares a campus with a middle school and an elementary school. It has around 1,300 students enrolled.