"We will be back stronger than ever," Shaquille O'Neal captioned a video of the fire on Instagram Tuesday night

By Jen Juneau
February 10, 2021 03:04 PM
Atlanta Krispy Kreme owned by Shaquille O'Neal
| Credit: Ron Harris/AP/Shutterstock; Inset: Jason Koerner/Getty

A Krispy Kreme restaurant in Atlanta owned by Shaquille O'Neal has suffered extensive damage after catching fire late Tuesday night.

As shown in video footage shared by FOX 5 Atlanta and other outlets, flames and smoke billowed out of the doughnut restaurant and coffeehouse on Ponce de Leon Avenue as firefighters worked to get the blaze under control.

The following morning, the Atlanta Fire Rescue said in a tweet, "A fast moving fire gutted the building this morning just before 1am."

"Atlanta Firefighters are still hitting hot spots this morning at the iconic Krispy Kreme located on Ponce de Leon," they said, adding, "Two employees were able to escape without injuries."

O'Neal, 48, shared a video of the fire on Instagram as it raged on, beginning the caption, "Hope no one was injured."

"But we will be back stronger than ever #shaqskrispykreme," the basketball legend added.

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Krispy Kreme shared a statement about the fire to their official Instagram on Wednesday morning, saying that they are "are extremely thankful that no one was injured and for the rapid response and outstanding work of the local fire and police departments."

The statement went on, "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!" they continued. "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."

The Midtown-area shop opened in 1965, according to the Associated Press, and was one of the first Krispy Kreme locations outside of Nashville, Tennessee, and Winston-Salem, North Carolina, the restaurant's primary initial bases.

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O'Neal purchased the Ponce de Leon landmark shop in October 2016. "Krispy Kreme prides itself on spreading joy and supporting local communities, and that's a cause that I am thrilled to be a part of," he said in a statement at the time.

"Our goal is to help people find their happy place, and what better way than with a box of delicious Krispy Kreme doughnuts," he added.

Fans of the Midtown Krispy Kreme flocked to social media to post about their heartbreak, like one who tweeted, "I'm actually real sad about the Krispy Kreme on Ponce. I've had so many coffees and doughnuts from that spot."

"Rebuild him, @SHAQ," the user continued, alongside a crying emoji. "Better, stronger, with more chocolate glaze."

Battalion Chief Douglas Hatcher said the cause of the fire is still unknown and under investigation, the AP reports. According to CBS 46, Hatcher added that most of the building was able to be salvaged.