Atlanta Krispy Kreme Suddenly in Flames

On what just started out as an unexpected fire in the early hours of February 10 at the Krispy Kreme Doughnut Factory on Ponce de Leon Avenue in Midtown Atlanta, officials now report it as a suspected arson case

Only two Krispy Kreme Doughnut Factory employees were working the night shift on February 10. A 911 call was made after detecting strong smoke scents and inevitably a tampered wire. Although the workers were able to leave the building in a timely fashion and remain uninjured, the building itself suffered massive casualties. Entering the scene at around 1 a.m., 35 firefighters worked throughout the remainder of the night to condense and monitor the flames. 

An inside view on the destruction of the cashier station at the Krispy Kreme Doughnut Factory on Ponce de Leon Avenue in Midtown, Atlanta. Photo by Atlanta Fire Rescue Department (AFRD). Some rights reserved to AFRD.

“The investigators believe the fire was intentionally set on the exterior of the building…The fire spread quickly to the interior of the structure causing catastrophic damage,” Atlanta Fire Rescue Department spokesman, Sergeant Cortez Stafford stated. 

Portrait of Atlanta Fire Rescue Department spokesman, Sergeant Cortez Stafford. Photo provided by Sergeant Cortez Stafford. Some rights reserved to Sergeant Cortez Stafford.

Further investigations concerning the origin point of ignition claim the abrupt uproar of fire had a possibility of occurring due to intentional, destructive motives. As surveillance began to release, a suspect in all black clothing was recognized on the scene just before the fire broke out. Although no further statements have been made on the confirmation or denial of the suspect’s possible affiliation with the event, the investigation continues to ensue. 

Officials are allotting a $10,000 reward for any information that will assist in the conviction of the suspected arsonist. If any leads are identified, refer to Georgia Arson Control Hotline at 1-800-282-5804. 

Whilst the Atlanta landmark has suffered too many extremities for repair, retired professional basketball player Shaquille O’Neal (Shaq), the owner of the Midtown Krispy Kreme Doughnut Factory, states in an Instagram post that a replacement to the beloved hotspot is in store for the Ponce de Leon Avenue location.

“I hope no one was hurt and we will bounce back better than ever,” Shaq states.

Krispy Kreme Doughnut Corporation also released a statement in correlation to the recent events expressing their reassurance to customers and the city alike.

“We continue to work with authorities to assess the damage and are uncertain at this point how long the shop will be closed…But as stated earlier, ‘we’re determined to be back better and sweeter than ever!’” Krispy Kreme Doughnut Corporation voices. 

Even though the Midtown neighborhood is safe from the fire’s damage, the permanent closure of the beloved building still remains a great loss to Atlanta residents. Originally replacing the old Pig’n Whistle barbecue drive-in in 1965, the approximately 60-year-old Krispy Kreme building only temporarily suspended public service one time (2003) before the fire permanently closed it. 

“It forever shaped my idea of what a hot doughnut is and should remain…I used to take my babies to look at the line and watch the magic happen” restaurant critic, Christiane Lauterbach reminisces.

Not only has the event touched locals, but even Georgians farther North have taken the unfortunate event to heart.

“I remember visiting that very Krispy Kreme when I was younger! It is such a shame that the building went down like this…I guess we will all have extra crispy doughnuts now,” Spencer Haney, a Forsyth County resident remarks. 

Although Shaquille O’Neal purchased the landmark back in 2016 as part of a larger package deal, the building’s historic roots back even further than the current owner’s involvement. After pioneering Krispy Kreme in 1937, Vernon Rudolph (the original Krispy Kreme owner) moved the franchise from North Carolina to Atlanta, first only selling doughnuts wholesale at a building near Ponce de Leon until transitioning to public service with a sit-down option in 1965. 

While the citizens of Midtown, Atlanta are still suffering from the tragedies that ensued at the Ponce de Leon Krispy Kreme, the corporation and owner are working fast to put February 10th behind them. In the meantime, Georgians are encouraged to fill their daily doughnut fix by visiting the Krispy Kreme on St. Evans Street in Atlanta. Stay tuned and don’t lose hope, the beloved red, flashing sign will be back up in no time!