Landmark Krispy Kreme in Atlanta owned by Shaquille O’Neal catches fire
A historic Krispy Kreme located in Atlanta and owned by NBA Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal caught fire early Wednesday morning, leaving the structure that originally opened in 1965 badly damaged.
Located in Midtown, the Krispy Kreme has been in operation for more than 60 years and was one of the company’s first outposts outside its main bases of operations in Winston-Salem, N.C., and Nashville, Tenn.
No injuries were reported and the cause of the fire is under investigation, according to Battalion Chief Douglas Hatcher. Most of the building was saved, Hatcher said, after fire department crews arrived on the scene shortly after midnight.
Images and video surfacing on social media document the extent of how the landmark building was left severely damaged by the blaze.
Photojournalist Stephen Boissy took this picture of the back of Krispy Kreme. A much different story from the front of the building pic.twitter.com/7isouQwoN6— Joe Ripley (@JoeRipley11) February 10, 2021
This is what the backside of the Krispy Kreme building looks like: gutted and charred. pic.twitter.com/YD9curDR96— Joe Ripley (@JoeRipley11) February 10, 2021
It's confirmed that two employees were able to escape the fire and are okay. One fire official said the drive-thru was open when the fire first started https://t.co/Os3cfGe6hP— Joe Ripley (@JoeRipley11) February 10, 2021
It’s hard to see in the dark, but the back overhang of the Krispy Kreme on Ponce is gutted, the menu is melted. A lot of damage on the back side of the building. But firefighters don’t believe anyone was injured #MorningRushATL @11AliveNews pic.twitter.com/eCohFCAUrR— Joe Ripley (@JoeRipley11) February 10, 2021
The Krispy Kreme is a beloved and cherished institution in Atlanta, with many notable connections to the city’s history.
The Krispy Kreme is so much a part of Atlanta lore. It was constructed the same year as Atlanta Fulton County Stadium for the Braves and the same year the Beatles came to town. April 9, 1965, in Atlanta—against the Detroit Tigers—as Milwaukee Braves. @11AliveNews #krispykreme pic.twitter.com/FwgS3kmJ3s— Jeff Hullinger (@11hullinger) February 10, 2021
The donut shop’s role in Atlanta history and strong ties to the community includes how the outpost donated 150 dozen donuts to local churches so thousands of mourners in town for Martin Luther King, Jr.’s funeral in April 1968 could be fed.
O’Neal, who purchased the Krispy Kreme in 2016, issued a statement regarding the devastating fire.
“I hope no one was hurt and we will bounce back better than ever,” O’Neal told 11Alive’s Francesca Amiker.