Courtenay fire officials are calling on apartment and condo dwellers to pay more attention to fire alarms after a fire alarm was silenced Thursday morning.

Crews were called to a report of smoke at an apartment complex in the 200-block of Back Road in Courtenay.

When they arrived, a tenant told crews that there was smoke inside the hallway. Firefighters found a small fire on the carpet, which they quickly extinguished.

Capt. Jonathan Welsh of the Courtenay Fire Department said he is concerned that many people were still inside the building even though there was an actual fire.

"What became of significance to us was not everyone was evacuating the building," Welsh said.

Welsh said not every building in the area has an alarm system that is monitored by the fire department, so crews were unaware of the problem until the tenant called 911.

It appears the alarm had gone off earlier but it was silenced, giving occupants a false sense of security, he said.

Welsh stressed "the importance of everybody evacuating and making sure that they call 911 and make sure that the fire department is on the way."

"Treat every alarm as if it is real and make sure the evacuation is quick and efficient," he said.