OZARK, Mo. (AP) — A fire at a utility company's substation left thousands of people without power in southwest Missouri.

The Empire Electric substation in Christian County was destroyed by fire Thursday evening, leaving 4,500 people in the Ozark and Sparta area without power.

Utility employees worked throughout the night to replace the transformer and power was restored Friday morning.

Utility spokeswoman Julie Maus said the transformer was working within normal capacity when the fire started. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

The Ozark First Baptist Church opened its doors Thursday night for those who needed a place to stay during the outage.