Fire breaks out at Tesla factory in Fremont

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A small fire broke out late Thursday at Tesla Inc.’s auto factory in Fremont, Calif., sending a plume of black smoke into the air but causing no injuries.

The Fremont Fire Department confirmed it responded to the blaze, which threatened a structure and started a small grass fire before it was extinguished. The fire broke out around 5:20 p.m. Pacific time.

“This evening, some cardboard and shipping materials being prepared for recycling on our southern fence line caught fire, along with a small patch of grass next to a Tesla parking lot,” a Tesla spokesperson said in a statement. “The fire is now contained. We would like to thank the Fremont Fire Department for their rapid response. There are no injuries and we are investigating the cause.”

Images from TV showed damage to a tent-like structure, but a Tesla spokesperson said it was not the tent used for Model 3 production. and that the fire was not near the production structure.

Earlier this year, California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health reportedly investigated reports of workplace hazards at the factory. In June, Chief Executive Elon Musk accused an employee of sabotaging operations at the factory, and warned employees in a memo to be on the lookout for potential saboteurs.

About 10,000 workers are employed at the plant, which includes a number of buildings on a 370-acre site.

In recent months, Tesla has been ramping up production of its Model 3 sedans, and it aims to roll out 6,000 new cars each week by the end of August. Musk has described the year as “excruciating,” but recently told the New York Times that “the worst is over from a Tesla operational standpoint.”

Musk is currently being investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission for potentially misleading investors about Model 3 production as well as his plans to take the company private.

Tesla shares TSLA, -0.48%   are up 2.8% this year, compared to a 7% gain for the S&P 500 SPX, -0.17%  .