Investigators now believe arson is to blame for the fire that destroyed the historic Krispy Kreme doughnut shop on Ponce de Leon Avenue in midtown Atlanta, the AJC reports.
“The investigators believe the fire was intentionally set on the exterior of the building,” Atlanta fire spokesman Sargent Cortez Stafford says in a statement. “The fire spread quickly to the interior of the structure causing catastrophic damage.”
Fire ripped through the iconic Krispy Kreme doughnut shop on Ponce de Leon Avenue in Midtown on February 10. The fire broke out shortly after 12:30 a.m. in the back of the building near the drive-thru window, which was open at the time. Two employees working in the shop escaped uninjured.
Multiple news outlets captured the scenes as firefighters battled the blaze into the wee hours of the morning. The fire 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 said the building sustained significant damage and is likely a “total loss.”
A $10,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible. Surveillance photos on the night of the fire appear to show a person of interest wearing all black attire.
The fire that occurred at @krispykreme Doughnuts (295 Ponce de Leon) on February 10th, 2021 has been determined to be a result of ARSON. We are seeking the public’s help in identifying & locating the suspect in these pictures. Up to $10,000 reward. 1-800-282-5804 #AFRD pic.twitter.com/HotJquoNC1— Atlanta Fire Rescue (@ATLFireRescue) February 26, 2021
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 was the only in-town Krispy Kreme location deemed kosher-certified.
O’Neal and his partners in the doughnut shop plan to rebuild.