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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Taking bags of ice out of his car and piling them into a deep freezer was not a part of Donald Gray’s original plans.

“We got married on Saturday and we came home, no power,” he said.

A transformer fire at the Duke Energy electrical substation at High Point Road and Robbins Road in Winston-Salem was the source.

At one point as many as 14,000 customers across Davidson and Forsyth Counties were without power and without air conditioning.

“You can’t switch all of the load to one other circuit. If it was the spring or fall when the demand is not so high you can switch circuits around easier where in this heat everything is at capacity,” said Duke Energy spokesman Jimmy Flythe.

Duke Energy crews have been working around the clock to repair the damaged substation. As repairs are made, the power is slowly coming back. Flythe says even you can help make the power return a little faster.

“Customers can help us out by turning off those large appliances and as the power comes back turn them on one at a time to let the load settle out.”

Homeowners across Davidson and Forsyth Counties are trying to beat the heat by sitting underneath a shade tree, going to the mall or spending time at a cooling shelter.

Maya Agger is a volunteer for the American Red Cross. The organization opened Atkins High School so people could use it to stay cool.

“So hot outside. We have an air quality alert. So having somewhere safe to go is pretty important,” she said.

Duke Energy is looking into why the transformer caught fire. The EPA is helping clean up the chemicals and oil released by the damaged transformer.