The commissioner, identified as George Brown, said the noise that sounded like gunfire may have been a piece of equipment at the school that has been malfunctioning in recent days. Police were seen on the roof of the school shortly after the first reports emerged.
Captain James Rowell told WECT the school remained an "active scene" but that there were no reported injuries.
The active shooter report came two days after 12 people were shot dead at a bar in California and nine months after 17 people were killed in Florida in one of the worst school massacres in U.S. history.
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The situation was unfolding at Topsail High School in the unincorporated town of Hampstead, North Carolina, reported WECT, a television station in Wilmington.
Pender County Emergency Director Tom Collins said he believes a broken water heater caused the noise. Buses were running once again, but on a 3-hour delay, the school district said.
Williams said he has heard the sound personally and can understand how someone might hear it and make a report.
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Speaking at press conference in the wee hours of Thursday, a sheriff said that around a dozen other people had been injured. Borderline Bar & Grill is a western-themed establishment known to regularly host country, salsa and swing dancing nights.
County commissioners told WECT-TV that the active shooter situation at Topsail High School may have been a malfunctioning water heater.
The school district released a statement afterward on Twitter.
Numerous law enforcement officials were at the high school Friday morning. According to its website, school begins at 8:30 a.m.
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In May, an 18-year-old student was found in the school's parking lot with a large knife strapped to his leg and three other knives.