ATLANTA — Charred remains are all that is left after a landmark doughnut shop went up in flames early Wednesday morning.
The Krispy Kreme along Ponce de Leon Avenue in midtown Atlanta caught on fire shortly before 1 a.m.
People who live in the area and work at the store told Channel 2′s Tom Jones that it’s important the store be rebuilt.
“It’s like a landmark,” neighbor Jasmine Rozier said.
David Trevino reminisced about the 90s when he was a college student and would stop by whether the “hot” light was on or not.
“Well, it didn’t matter. If you wanted doughnuts, you got doughnuts,” Trevino said.
All those memories went up in flames around 1 a.m.
Viewers gave Channel 2 Action News video of flames shooting from the store way up into sky.
The fire gutted the back of the building. Inside, everything was burned except for a handful of doughnuts.
Maurice Sutton, a 20-year employee of the store, told Jones that he couldn’t believe the devastation.
“I just dropped my head. Twenty years. You can imagine how I feel. I’m shook up,” Sutton said.
A man who identified himself as a co-owner said no one was hurt in the fire. Two employees who were working got out safely.
“This is an Atlanta landmark,” said Mickey Griffin, who stopped by the store Wednesday.
People say this doughnut factory means a lot to Atlanta.
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Jones saw one man go inside the store and come out with a fire-damaged Krispy Kreme T-shirt.
People hope the store will be back soon and continue its long legacy in Ponce.
“I think Shaq’s the owner. He said he was going to build it back up, so I guess we will see,” neighbor Danielle Temples said.
Former NBA star Shaquille O’Neal does in fact own the store. He took ownership of it in 2016.
O’Neal and Krispy Kreme said Wednesday they intend to rebuild the store. O’Neal took to his Instagram page to express relief nobody was hurt in the fire and to promise the store will return.
Krispy Kreme also said the workers at the Ponce location will receive full pay while they search for other locations for them to work.
“Early this morning, the historic Ponce De Leon Krispy Kreme shop in Atlanta caught on fire. We and our shop partner, Shaquille O’Neal, are extremely thankful that no one was injured and for the rapid response and outstanding work of the local fire and police departments. We are working with authorities to assess the damage and are uncertain at this point how long the shop will be closed. 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. As Shaq said, “We will bounce back better than ever!”
The store has been at the site for more than 60 years. After Martin Luther King Jr.’s funeral in April 1968, the Krispy Kreme fed mourners by donating 150 dozen donuts to Atlanta churches.
Workers believe the fire started in some recently repaired wiring. An investigation is underway.
Cox Media Group