Pender County Emergency Director Tom Collins said he also believed a malfunctioning water heater caused a gunfire noise and that the sheriff's office is expected to hold a news conference soon.
Deputies did find an HVAC unit that was malfunctioning and making sounds similar to gunshots.
Live footage shows numerous law enforcement agencies now at the school where the scene remains active.
Qui veut gagner des millions ?: Jean-Pierre Foucault remplacé par Camille Combal
Je l'animerai à ma façon: "naturellement" a réagi Camille Combal , qui semble décidément être le nouvel animateur fétiche de TF1. Il a expliqué avoir "proposé Camille Combal à TF1", car il se " reconnaît un peu en lui ".
A Pender County dispatcher told Reuters that deputies were responding to a situation at a local high school, but could not elaborate. Topsail High, Topsail Middle, and Topsail Elementary remain on lockdown.
Reports of an active shooter came in around 6:30 a.m.
As of 7 a.m., Capt. James Rowell with the Pender County Sheriff's Office said that no injuries had been reported but it was still an active scene. Parents should not bring students to these schools, according to Miranda Ferguson, Pender County schools spokesperson.
Tens of thousands flee fast-moving Northern California fire
At the moment the fire is in Butte county, powering through Paradise City and under watch from the Paradise Police Department. Right now, 500 firefighters are working to put out the conflagration, with support from 100 other law enforcement officials.
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.
Students that were already on buses were transported to the Lowes Foods across from the school. It was reported a piece of equipment had been malfunctioning over recent days which made a sound like gun fire. It has around 1,300 students enrolled. A 16-year-old boy who authorities say armed himself with a semi-automatic rifle after hearing about that potential attack also was arrested.
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