Improperly discarded cigarettes can cause major problems even in the middle of winter.
The residents of the English Meadows apartment complex near 67th Street and Layton Avenue could have found that out the hard way Wednesday.
Greenfield firefighters were called to the complex around 7:45 a.m. when a maintenance employee smelled smoke but could not determine where it was coming from.
After searching high and low for its origin, firefighters eventually found a discarded cigarette near a crawl space in the complex’s basement. The cigarette had fallen through a crack in the mortar and was slowly burning up wood in the building’s base.
Firefighters flushed the area with water until they extinguished the fire.
“Left in the state it was, it would have gone out or eaten up the side of the building,” Greenfield Fire Chief Jon Cohn said. “It had real potential,” to turn into a major fire.
“Greenfield fire crews did an exceptional job in finding this essentially hidden fire,” Cohn added. “Greenfield firefighters stopped a fire that could have caused tremendous damage, displaced residents and caused personal harm.”