Durham Fire Department spokeswoman Sierra Jackson said a problem at an electrical substation on Garret Road caused a fire in the woods, which was extinguished. As a result, power was knocked out along Fayetteville Road around 3:30 p.m.
The outage affected residential customers and businesses.
Shopper Janice Dillahay said she couldn't buy what she came for because registers in the stores were not working.
"There were people standing around looking and wondering when the power will come back on,” she said.
At its peak, about 3,000 Duke Energy customers were without electricity. At about 9:30 p.m., there were two outages reported in Durham and 395 in western Wake County.