A malfunctioning piece of heavy machinery is being blamed for sparking a fire on the property of a hemp plant in Gilbert Plains, Man.

Jim Musey, deputy fire chief of Gilbert Plains Fire Department, said firefighters were called to Plains Hemp at about 3:40 p.m. Tuesday.

He said flames broke out in a pile of hemp that had been lifted from a grinding machine. Sparks then fell to the ground, which caught fire. He said the fire then spread to a bale storage shed east of the main plant, igniting about 300 bales, and destroying the building.

Musey estimated another 200 bales outside of the shed were also destroyed by the fire.

The blaze was brought under control before it could spread to the plant.

About 15 firefighters were on hand to fight the blaze and they were expected to remain on the scene until late Tuesday night.

No one was injured.

No damage estimate was available Tuesday.