(MOORE COUNTY, N.C.) — About 35,000 utility customers in a North Carolina county were bracing for a fourth night Tuesday without electricity as a search for those responsible for sabotaging two key power substations continued and crews scrambled to repair what authorities described as “millions of dollars” in damages.

The crisis in Moore County has prompted local law enforcement to call in the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and other federal agencies to help in the probe of what has been deemed a criminal act. The White House is also closely monitoring the situation, officials said.

“This kind of attack raises a new level of threat,” North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said at a news conference Monday afternoon.

Asked whether the attacks are being investigated as an act of domestic terrorism, Cooper said, “I think investigators are leaving no stone unturned as to what this is as they are looking at every motivation that could possibly occur.”

Residents throughout Moore County remained under curfew Tuesday night, as area schools were canceled through Thursday, officials said.

Moore County law enforcement said at a Tuesday afternoon news conference that one person died inside a residence without power, but it remained unclear if the death is related to the electrical outage.

Moore County Sheriff Ronnie Fields told ABC News earlier that murder charges could be filed against those responsible for the attack if anyone dies as a result of the power outage.

“What was done was an intentional act. It was not a random act,” Fields said.

Jeff Brooks, a spokesperson for Duke Energy, the local utility, said crews are working around the clock to restore energy. He said electricity has been restored to about 10,000 customers.

Brooks said crews are making good progress and now believe they can restore power to all customers by midnight Wednesday. He said about 35,000 were still without power Tuesday evening, down from 45,000 customers who initially lost power.

Freezing temperatures in the county about 60 miles southwest of Raleigh forced many residents to seek warmth and food at a shelter opened in Carthage.

“It’s better to have warmth and comfort than make sure your belongings are safe,” Gunner Scevertson, one of the residents who left his home to seek warmth at the shelter, told Charlotte ABC affiliate WSOC.

Carthage business owner Rachel Haviley used her portable generator to serve up coffee and food to neighbors in need.

“My kids are home, they’re not in school. My husband was supposed to go to D.C., now he’s in daddy day care,” Haviley told WSOC. “I have a friend that was supposed to be at the hospital for class, now she’s not there. There are elderly people who rely on things that help keep them alive, so people’s lives and families have been impacted by this.”

Vandals wielding firearms are suspected of causing major damage to two electrical distribution substations, knocking out power to homes and businesses across the county, officials said.

Brooks said that while some of the damaged equipment could be repaired, other pieces had to be replaced.

The attacks occurred just after 7 p.m. Saturday, officials said.

Fields said the perpetrator or perpetrators shot up two key substations in the area, adding, they “knew exactly what they were doing.”

No arrests have been announced in the probe.

The attacks came amid protests over a Downtown Divas drag show in the Moore County city of Southern Pines. The drag show had been scheduled for Saturday night and was disrupted due to the blackout.

Fields said no evidence has yet been uncovered linking the power outage to the drag show.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.