A big fire Tuesday at a Santa Maria plant that manufactures pallets started near an area where the pallets are assembled, but investigators have not been able to determine the exact cause.

However, investigators don’t believe there was any “malicious intent.”

The blaze caused at least $200,000 in damages as flames lept more than 100 feet into the air, a smoke plume billowed to twice that height and firefighters raced to keep a massive amount of burning embers away from a large residential neighborhood only about 1,000 feet away, an official said.

The fire started about 10 p.m. and was contained within two hours, officials said. All the company’s finished pallets were destroyed in the fire, as were three vehicles. Another three were damaged and two large pieces of machinery were heavily damaged, he said.

A ladder truck, four engine companies, a battalion chief and one medic unit responded. No injuries were reported.

Members of the public are being asked to contact the department if they have more information at 925-0951.

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