Firefighters contained a small fire that broke out in an apartment's outside storage unit this morning, preventing the flames from spreading into the main living space.

Updated 2:45 p.m.

A small fire that broke out in an exterior storage closet at 7:30 a.m. today in a West Eleventh Street apartment building started because of a cigarette, fire officials said.

Medford Fire-Rescue fire inspector Ralph Sartain said the cigarette was from an ashtray the apartment resident placed in the closet to prevent the butts from being blown out by wind. Some of the contents in the closet were destroyed, and the building suffered minor damage.

Updated 8 a.m.

Firefighters contained a small fire that broke out in an apartment's outside storage unit this morning, preventing the flames from spreading into the main living space.

Medford Fire-Rescue crews responded with four engines to 715 W. 11th St., Apt. B, at around 7:30 a.m. today following reports of a structure fire, fire officials said.

Fire inspector Ralph Sartain said the apartment is on the second floor of the two-story complex. When crews arrived on scene, some light smoke was pouring off the storage unit. It is essentially a large closet on the porch outside, separate from the main apartment.

Crews knocked down the small fire quickly, taking no more than two minutes, Sartain said.

A teenage girl, who lives at the apartment, saw the smoke and went to a neighbor, who called 911, Sartain said. No one was hurt.

The section of West Eleventh Street was still blocked by Medford police units between Laurel and Newton streets as of 7:50 a.m. Crews are still investigating how the fire started.

— Ryan Pfeil