MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A building near the University of Minnesota campus that was damaged in an overnight fire near the University of Minnesota campus will have to be demolished, authorities said.

The fire caused significant damage to at least three businesses overnight.

Dozens of firefighters were called to the 2800 block of University Avenue just before midnight after a blaze broke out in a building that contained an auto body shop, a deli and a daycare just a few blocks from TCF Bank Stadium.

When authorities arrived, they found a heavy fire in the back of the building, where the auto body shop is located. Firefighters made entry to fight the fire from inside, but were evacuated after high heat conditions, no visibility and heavy fire.

They spent the rest of their time fighting the blaze from the outside and were still on the scene Thursday morning putting out hot spots.

Authorities said the fire started to cause the roof of the building to collapse, and a 300-foot radio tower came down. Nearby homes were evacuated as fire officials weren’t sure which way the tower would fall, but it ended up falling accordion-style onto the burning building.

Fire officials said there were a lot of flammables in that body shop where the fire started and that paint cans could be heard popping.

On Thursday afternoon, crews said the building was structurally unstable after the fire, and would need to be demolished.

Authorities said no firefighters or residents were hurt in the blaze and what caused it is still under investigation.


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