Casper Fire-EMS crews responded to a small fire that produced at lot of smoke at an apartment in south-central Casper on Friday night, according to a news release from the fire department.

About 9:45 p.m., firefighters went to 1700 block of West 25th Street. People calling dispatch said smoke was filling the hallway of the third floor of the three-story building.

Residents were evacuating when firefighters arrived.

Firefighters found the source of the smoke, and the fire was already out. Crews then ventilated the building.

No injuries were reported. The fire department did not know whether residents would be able to immediately return to their apartments.
Five engines, one truck and the battalion chief responded. Crews were released as the incident was stabilized. Casper Fire-EMS was helped by Casper Police, Wyoming Medical Center and the City-Natrona County Health Department.

Investigators determined the fire was caused by improperly discarded ashes from an ashtray. The ashes were dumped in a combustible containers where they smoldered and eventually ignited the container.

They also found the smoke alarm in the building didn't work because the batteries were removed. Before leaving the scene, firefighters installed new smoke alarms.

Casper Fire-EMS reminds people to properly discard smoking materials are out by putting them in water or sand.

The department also said smoke alarms cut in half the risk of dying in a home fire. Most new smoke alarms come with batteries that are designed to last a decade. With older smoke alarms, replace the batteries at least once a year.

Contact the fire department for more information on smoke detector installation, testing, maintenance and replacement.