A fire in a multi-unit apartment building in the 1600 block of Monroe Street forced 12 people from their homes Monday afternoon.

Evanston Fire Division Chief Kimberly Kull says the fire was reported about 12:35 p.m. and firefighters found heavy fire conditions at the rear of the building, but they managed to extinguish the blaze within a half hour.

The dozen residents of the building managed to escape safely, and firefighters rescued two cats and two dogs from the structure.

One firefighter was treated on the scene for minor injuries. The cause of the fire is under investigation. The American Red Cross was notified to offer assistance to the displaced residents.

1049 Fowler Ave.

A few hours later, about 4:30 p.m. Monday, firefighters responded to a report of smoke coming from a single-family home at 1049 Fowler Ave.

Kull says the blaze, which was confined to a second-floor bathroom, was caused by someone using a torch to thaw a frozen water pipe.

No injuries were reported.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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