QUINCY -- Danni Simmons followed her routine when she got to work about 7:45 a.m. Tuesday at E. Best Plumbing and Heating Supply Co. -- right up until she had to call 911.
"I came in, opened the door, turned the lights on, went to start the coffee and one of the lights caught on fire," said Simmons, president of the business. "It was a ballast up in the ceiling. It fell down onto the floor, the carpeting and started smoking. I called 911 and got away."
When Quincy firefighters arrived at the business at 628 Jersey, "we could see flames through the window," Assistant Chief James Pioch said. "It looked a lot worse than it actually was. It was a concrete floor. The ceiling was not burned. We put it out without much difficulty at all."
The building dating to 1920 had no fire damage, but "a lot of smoke damage," Pioch said.
An investigator was on the scene to determine the cause of the fire, but "we've got to get the smoke out first," Pioch said. "It will take a while to clear out."
Large fans were set up to help clear the smoke, and Simmons didn't know yet how much the fire will affect business operations.
Simmons, who has worked at E. Best for 48 years, said the fire is the first in her memory at the business. She is the fifth generation of the family to work in the plumbing and heating business and was the only person in the building at the time of the fire.
"I knew not to stay in there," she said. "I knew where the fire extinguishers were, but when it started smoking, that was it."