Emergency responders were called to the rear of 27 W. Mauch Chunk St., Tamaqua, just before noon on Friday after a neighbor reported an odor of something burning.
The neighbor, Genevieve Hindermyer, lives in a connected apartment building, 29 W. Mauch Chunk St.
A short time later, neighbors said their apartments started to fill with smoke. They added that the landlord, Dr. Robert Jewells II, who works a block away, and two contractors working for him, arrived and kicked in the door of 27 Rear Mauch Chunk Street.
Reportedly they saw a plastic garbage can, clothes and other small items on fire in the rear apartment. They were quick to extinguish it.
Officials have determined the cause to be from a cigarette tossed in the garbage can by tenant Terrence Love. Love, who had left his home a few minutes before emergency personnel responded, told officials that he thought he put out the fire before he left to get more cigarettes.
Neighbors added that this could have been much worse, as a total of 16 people, most being children, live in the three connected row homes.
Responding were Tamaqua Police, Tamaqua Fire Department and Tamaqua Ambulance. Tamaqua Fire Police volunteers controlled traffic around the area.
No serious injuries were reported.