A container filled with garbage caught fire on a Duwamish River barge carrying about 200 containers.

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A container on a Duwamish River barge caught fire Monday afternoon, developing into a smoky blaze that drew about 120 firefighters to the scene — roughly half of the available force.

The fire started in the center of a load of maybe 200 containers on the barge, docked at the Alaska Marine Lines terminal in West Seattle, said Lt. Harold Webb, of the Seattle Fire Department, who explained that crews had to remove many of the containers to reach the fire’s origin.

The cargo varied, from cars to garbage to tanks of propane to refrigerated units with cooling equipment and fuel for that cooling gear. The fire was reported about 3:15 p.m.

It turned out garbage was the culprit. Garbage in one of the shipping containers spontaneously combusted, according to the fire department.

Officials Monday evening were taking precautions to check whether the river had been polluted by the fire and firefighting effort.