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Seen here Friday Jan. 13, 2012 is an old box-design Toronto Hydro pole on College Street in Toronto.

Tim Fraser For The Globe and Mail

A large Toronto Hydro outage downtown Thursday evening has left thousands of customers without power following a small fire at a substation.

The outage began at about 8:20 p.m. and is affecting about 6,500 customers, Toronto Hydro spokeswoman Jennifer Link said. The outage was caused by a fire in a circuit breaker and is expected to be resolved by 3 a.m.

The affected area, which has a total of 8,000 customers, is roughly bordered by Queen's Quay to the south, Bayview Avenue to the east, Jarvis Street the west and Carlton Street to the north, according to Toronto Hydro's website.

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Toronto fire department spokesman Captain David Eckerman said there was a "small fire" in a hydro vault at the station near George and Adelaide streets. He said by about 10 p.m., roughly an hour after the call came in, the fire was out and smoke was being cleared. The cause of the fire is so far unknown, he said.

While there were no injuries reported, Capt. Eckerman said there was some damage to the substation.

Toronto police posted on Twitter that motorists should be careful at intersections where power is out. One officer posted a photo of a member of the public directing traffic.

The outage happened during the second day of an extreme heat alert issued by the City of Toronto. For people without air conditioning due to the outage, there's a 24-hour cooling station at Metro Hall, another officer posted.

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