Chilean officials have launched an investigation into a fire that tore through a warehouse belonging to family-owned Chilean textiles firm Empresas Nallar on Tuesday morning, owner Rene Nallar confirmed to just-style on Thursday.

Nallar said officials are looking at whether the blaze, which left a huge cloud of smoke hanging over northern Santiago de Chile, the country's capital, stemmed from an electrical short circuit or was started as part of a criminal act.

"We are not sure if it was something electrical or planned," Nallar said.

The fire destroyed a key section of the warehouse where polyester and nylon thread, elastic ribbons and zippers where stored. Two other sections were covered with up to 20 meters of water as fire crews struggled to put out the blaze.

Empresas Nallar, headquartered in Santiago's upscale Recoleta quarter, controls up to 80% of Chile's elastic ribbons market. It sells its products to local apparel manufacturers.

The small company, which also makes chemical products such as detergents, employs 50 people.

Ivan Castano.