Fire ripped through the historic Krispy Kreme doughnut shop on Ponce de Leon Avenue in Midtown overnight. The fire broke out shortly after 12:30 a.m. in the back of the building. The drive-thru window was open at the time.
Two employees working at the shop early Wednesday morning reported smelling smoke coming from the back of the building, before spotting the fire shooting through the roof. Both escaped unharmed.
Multiple news outlets captured the scenes as firefighters battled the blaze into the wee hours of the morning. Investigators are still working to determine the cause of the fire, which gutted the back portion of the building and melted the ordering counter in the front of the shop. After the flames were finally extinguished, Battalion Chief Douglas Hatcher told 11Alive News that Atlanta fire crews were able to save most of the remaining structure. However, officials now say the building sustained significant damage and is likely a “total loss.”
Shaquille O’Neal purchased the landmark Krispy Kreme on Ponce as part of a 2016 franchise deal the basketball legend and sports commentator struck with the North Carolina-based doughnut chain. This location opened in 1965 and features a 24-hour drive-thru window. It’s the only in-town Krispy Kreme location deemed kosher-certified. O’Neal plans to rebuild the shop.
“We are working with authorities to assess the damage and are uncertain at this point how long the shop will be closed,” Krispy Kreme marketing executive Jack Farmer said in a statement. “However, we plan to reopen the shop as soon as possible. In the meantime, our Ponce team members will continue to receive full pay while we identify and offer them roles at other area Krispy Kreme shops.
Eater reached out to O’Neal Wednesday morning for further comment on the fire.
NEW DETAILS: Fire officials tell me the fire started in the back right of Krispy Kreme. They say drive-thru was open at the time but couldn’t say how many people were inside when fire broke out. As sun comes up, investigators to get better look at aftermath #MorningRushATL pic.twitter.com/R9RvoOHGHo— Joe Ripley (@JoeRipley11) February 10, 2021
Krispy Kreme first opened 84 years ago in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, serving its signature hot-glazed, yeast-raised doughnuts. There are now over 1,000 Krispy Kreme locations throughout the United States and the world, including over a dozen shops in metro Atlanta.
Update, February 10, 4:30 p.m.: This story has been updated with the latest damage report update from Atlanta Fire and Rescue.