Lucky timing and a quick response seem to have kept a scary situation from turning into a destructive one on Friday afternoon. It was just another day at the shop for Vi Motes, owner of Aphrodite’s Emporium and Junction Tobacco in downtown Laramie, until a customer saw smoke.

A quick check around the store revealed smoke coming through a ceiling tile near the front and Motes reports she called the Laramie Fire Department around 2:45 p.m. The LFD, Laramie Police Department, Rocky Mountain Power and Source Gas responded quickly to the scene.

“We could smell the smoke, but we didn’t have anything really visible,” reported LFD company officer Kevin Lam. “It took a little while for us to investigate. We found out that it was a light ballast in the ceiling for one of the flourescent lights. Those burn out on a regular basis and that’s what caused all of the smoke.”

The only damage in the building was to the ballast according to Lam. Motes will need to replace the burned out ballast and says she is planning to replace others in the building to ensure there are no more close calls.

“Thank the good Lord that it was during the day and not at night,” commented Motes. “It might have just fizzled out quickly, but then you never know, this is an old building with old wood and old insulation. We’re just thankful for our good fire department and police.”