A large late-night fire consumed a commercial building along University Avenue SE. in Minneapolis and toppled a radio tower that was tethered to the structure, leaving firefighters to tend to hot spots after daybreak Thursday.

The fire struck about 11:40 p.m. Wednesday at 2812 University Av. SE., which housed a day care, a deli, and several auto-repair businesses, fire officials said.

The 70-year-old building was empty at the time, said Jeff Barnhart, who oversees the property for his parents. Barnhart said he had yet to hear how the fire started.

The flames also claimed a dormant radio tower that stood at least 200 feet tall and had been used over the years for taxi dispatch among other things, Barnhart said. He gave firefighters credit for getting it “to fall properly” so it wouldn’t hit anything.

paul walsh