State engineers said Friday that it appears a problem with vinyl sheets at the base of the dam caused a leak that emptied the lake Wednesday night into Thursday morning.
Water flowing under the dam caused sinkholes which emptied the entire 88-acre lake located south of Fort Bragg and Fayetteville.
"There’s no life at all and compared to what we had a few days ago with water and geese swimming around. It’s very sad. It’s a sad day for us,” explained resident Mary Simpson.
"We don't know. We don't know. They're gonna have a meeting Monday night. There’s a bunch of us gonna attend that find out what's going on," said resident Harold Dew.
The draining of the lake is now forcing Friends of Hope Mills Lake" to move its annual Fourth of July celebrations to another place in town.
"Last year it was just beautiful because it all reflected out here in the water. This is a huge loss for this community it's a small knit community,” said Simpson.
but Simpson says she's confident the community will get its lake back.
"Certainly were not happy about it, but this is also the type of people that live here that will work very hard and diligently to get this restored,” she offered.