Fire crews were called to a towerblock after a fire started in a bin room.
They arrived at Sutton Court, in Pantile Avenue, Southend, to find that smoke had travelled up the bin chute and onto each floor.
Officers first put out the fire which had started in a wheelie bin at about 8.10pm.
They then spent 25 minutes opening the windows and ventilating each floor but no one was evacuated.
The fire is not being treated as suspicious.
It is believed somebody accidentally put something hot in the bin chute.