Fire consumes Prospect Park building

A two-alarm fire collapsed a 300-foot radio tower and damaged three businesses.

Staff

A large fire consumed a deli, day care center and auto body shop on University Avenue Southeast early Thursday morning. No injuries have been reported.

The cause of the two-alarm fire is unknown, but it seems to have started in the auto body shop, said Minneapolis Fire Chief John Fruetel. Fire crews arrived around midnight and Fruetel said they would likely continue fighting the fire until morning.

The affected building, at 2812 SE University Ave., contains Sabrina Grocery and Deli, Milano Childcare Center and Jeff’s Top Line Auto Body. Police and Fire department officials said the roof of the auto body shop collapsed and at least six cars were destroyed.

Loud pops could be heard inside the flaming auto shop, which Fruetel attributed to exploding paint cans and other flammable materials.

David Barnhart, who owns the building and two adjacent properties with his son Jeff, said there were flammable materials stored in the shop, but they were stored safely.

Police cleared away spectators and evacuated houses behind the building over concerns a radio tower anchored to the building would collapse. The tower, at least 200 feet tall, later crumpled in on itself and Prospect Park residents were able to return to their homes.

Meghan Holden, Roy Aker, Cody Nelson and Tony Wagner contributed to this report.