First responders adjusting to Colonial Pipeline problems

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GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — On Tuesday cars were bumper to bumper, fuel prices were higher, and some stations were out of gas in Greensboro.

“I’m scared if I don’t I might not be able to get gas in a couple of days and the line might be even longer then,” said George Ingram, who waited more than an hour to fill up his gas tank at the Costco on Wendover Avenue in Greensboro.

Colonial Pipeline officials told FOX8 crews are slowly bringing the pipeline online in sections. A cyberattack from a foreign hacker group called Darkside forced a shutdown of the pipeline on May 7th.

According to Colonial Pipeline shippers have delivered 41 million gallons of fuel to various delivery points along the East Coast including Greensboro since the shutdown.

The pipeline running through Greensboro is under manual control.

The entire pipeline is expected to be fully operational by the end of the week. Until then, government agencies are adjusting so they have enough fuel to get to emergencies if restoration is delayed.

“It’s really concerning because they definitely need fuel,” said Susan Long, who waited for gas at Costco.

Greensboro and High Point police department officers are going to local gas stations instead of utilizing the department’s fleet fuel.

Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Emergency Management plans to limit unnecessary fuel use.

“Everything from a school bus to a firetruck,” said August Vernon, the director of the Winston-Salem Forsyth County Emergency Management. “Just for them to figure out how can we maybe start limiting the fuel that we’re using.”

Vernon told FOX8 there’s enough fuel in reserves for emergency calls even if restoring the pipeline takes longer.

“Our public safety agencies have all the fuel they need right now, and all this planning and discussion is just to be prudent,” he said. “Especially for our public safety agencies is 911 calls, responding to emergencies that will continue that hasn’t slowed down yet, nothing has stopped them yet.”

Drivers are being warned not to panic and fill their tanks out of fear. Many told FOX8 they’ll do their part to keep emergency vehicles on the road.

“I think they need to be first and they need to get whatever they need,” said Charles Hancock, who waited in line for gas at Costco. “I hope they do, they’re out here to protect the people and help the people.”

“If people have to stay home and stop driving because of it well I know I will do what I need to do for first responders,” Long said.

Governor Roy Cooper issued a state of emergency order on Monday in response to the pipeline shutdown.

People can report price gouging on the NC Department of Justice website or call 1-877-5-NO-SCAM.

“I’m just hoping that prices don’t gouge,” Long said. “I hope people don’t take advantage of this.”

North Carolina has a five-daytyler fuel supply for the state which expires Wednesday according to the North Carolina Information Sharing and Analysis Center.

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