An Atlanta Krispy Kreme Doughnuts store that has been standing for more than fifty years and is owned by former NBA player and TV analyst Shaquille O’Neal was engulfed by flames and damaged on Wednesday.
According to ESPN, the fire heavily damaged the store on Ponce De Leon Avenue before fire crews were able to respond shortly after midnight. Pictures and videos on social media also show the store covered in flames.
BREAKING NEWS: Atl landmark @krispykreme on Ponce goes up in flames. Two workers get out unharmed. No word yet on cause. Live reports start at 4:30 on @GoodDayAtlanta @FOX5Atlanta pic.twitter.com/B29bxWrqXg
— Marc Teichner (@mteichnerfox5) February 10, 2021
Per reports, two workers of the store were able to get out unharmed, and that there is no official cause and cause of the fire was under investigation. Battalion Chief Douglas Hatcher, meanwhile, said that the fire started in the back of the store and that firefighters were able to save most of the building.
Shaquille O’Neal, who has made a lot of investments in different businesses and industries since his retirement, bought the Midtown Krispy Kreme store back in 2016. He told local TV network WXIA-TV that he hopes no one was hurt in the fire, and promised that the business will be back better than ever.
The Krispy Kreme store is a historic one since opening in 1965, as it was one of the first Krispy Kreme stores outside the company’s base in Winston-Salem, North Carolina and Nashville, Tennessee. The store memorably donated 150 dozen doughnuts to different Atlanta churches after Martin Luther King Jr.’s funeral in April 1968.
Aside from the Krispy Kreme store, Shaquille O’Neal, a four-time NBA champion with the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat during his 19-year career, also reportedly owns several stores of food establishments like Auntie Anne’s, Five Guys Burgers, and Papa John’s.