MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO/AP) – A popular south Minneapolis deli went up in flames Thursday morning just after it had repairs done from when a car smashed into it earlier this year, authorities said.

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Crews responded to a report of a fire at about 3 a.m. at the Chicago Avenue Deli, which is at the intersection of Chicago Avenue and 25th Street. When they arrived, there was a lot of smoke but not a lot of visible flames.
That changed at about 5:30 a.m. when the fire reignited, sending flames shooting out into the sky.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

The front of the Chicago Avenue Deli was all but destroyed earlier this year when a car smashed into it, and repairs to that damage had recently been finished.

Firefighters believe the fire started in the basement, but by the time they got on scene, it had already moved to the walls and the roof.

Equipment inside the building was fuel for the fire, so crews were eventually forced out of the building.

The business is a total loss, which is upsetting for neighbors who shopped there. Shoppers say the owner has a reputation of helping customers make ends meet.

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“If…I don’t have enough to cover but I’ll have it in a few days, they’ll let me slide with a few dollars,” said Megan Stroot. “They’re good people and do good business.”

The fire also activated some of the fire alarms at Children’s Hospital and Clinics of Minnesota, which is across the street from the deli. While the building wasn’t at risk, fire officials told them to shut off their air intake system to prevent any smoke from entering the building. Within hours, the hospital had activated a partial orange alert and opened its incident command center.

“At no time did we feel any patients were at risk or any parent thought their child was at risk,” said Children’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Phil Kibort.

Children’s temporarily closed its outpatient clinic and delayed elective surgery, radiology and lab services.

“Even when the smoke and fire went away and the smoke was dying down, there was a sense of soot,” said Dr. Kibort. “So we had to make sure every room was cleaned, all surfaces were cleaned and the operating rooms were cleaned.”

By mid-afternoon, the air intake system at Children’s was fully back on.

Authorities are investigating what caused the fire, but it could take until next week to determine the cause due to the extent of the damage.

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