By Steve Large

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – A spectacular fire at a metal recycling plant in downtown Sacramento sent a pitch-black plume of smoke high into the sky.

From the street on North B and North 10th Street, it was easy to see huge fireballs erupting on a pile of junk metal, household appliances and crushed cars. Loud explosions could also be heard coming from inside the burning pile of metal at Sims Metal Management.

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A photo taken by Vicky Thompson showed just how close the fire came to nearby downtown homes in the River District. The CBS13 tower camera showed the 10 story plume could be seen from miles away.

One hundred firefighters responded to the fire using several ladder trucks, each putting down 1,000 gallons of water a minute on the flames.

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Tony Padilla works across the street from the fire. Everyone at his business was forced to leave for the day.

“It all came on in a cloud of dark smoke,” Padilla said. “All at once there was smoke everywhere and the trucks move in and all the streets are closed off.”

Some businesses self-evacuated while others were told to leave by firefighters. Firefighters believe this fire may have started as the result of spontaneous combustion deep in a pile of discarded metal household appliances and crushed cars.

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No firefighters were hurt and no injuries were reported from the business either.