UPDATED: 5,600 Xcel customers still without power, as of 10 p.m.
FARGO - About 5,660 Xcel Energy customers are still without power as of 10 p.m., as crews work into the night to restore service after a widespread outage paralyzed parts of Fargo and West Fargo today.
Customers still affected by the outage are mostly in West Fargo, except nearly 800 who were in south Fargo, according to the company's website.
Xcel spokeswoman Bonnie Lund said further work needed to be done on a damaged substation before service could be restored to all customers.
However, Lund said, Xcel was hopeful power could yet be restored overnight.
Throughout the evening, crews have gradually restored power to more than 10,000 customers who had also lost power in the widespread outage that began at 1:40 p.m.
According to Xcel, a 115-kilovolt transmission line tripped offline at Main Avenue and 42nd Street in Fargo.
Equipment failed and sparked a fire at the substation, cutting off power to the facility and all of the Xcel customers it serves.
At its peak, the outage left more than 16,000 customers without power for at least four hours.
Lund said it's rare for outages to last so long.
The incident affected West Fargo, south Fargo and portions of the industrial park in north Fargo.
"We really appreciate customers' patience as we work through this difficult situation," said Mark Nisbet, Xcel's principal manager for North Dakota. "Our crews will continue to work safely as we restore power as quickly as possible to as many as we can, but the possibility remains that outages for some customers may last for an extended time period."
The outage darkened homes and businesses, as well as traffic lights, making for potential hazards after sunset.
However, Fargo police report few accidents and only one that could've been tied to the outage.
As nighttime set in and homes grew colder, many people took refuge at West Acres Shopping Center, which still had power.
The customer service desk there reported taking more than 50 calls from people wondering if the mall had power.
Meanwhile, West Fargo Public Schools was forced to change some of its activities Saturday since the high school was also hit by the outage.
Xcel is offering updates as available through www.xcelenergy.com/outages and its Facebook page, "Xcel Energy North Dakota."