A fire-damaged Krispy Kreme is one thing, but a fire-damaged Krispy Kreme owned by Shaq? That’s unthinkable. The Associated Press reports that basketball legend and Papa John’s board member Shaquille O’Neal owns a historic Krispy Kreme location in Atlanta, which was damaged in a late-night fire on Tuesday. According to tweets by Atlanta Fire Rescue, the beloved location was “gutted” by the “fast-moving fire,” but firefighters were able to save much of the building. You can’t keep a good Shaq down.
Battalion Chief Douglas Hatcher told the Associated Press that the fire started in the back of the restaurant; fortunately, firefighters were able to save much of the building. The cause of the fire is still unclear, but no injuries were reported. Shaq posted a video of the fire on Instagram on Wednesday, saying, “Hope no one was injured. But we will be back stronger than ever.”
Krispy Kreme also issued a statement on Twitter thanking first responders for their service. Krispy Kreme also confirmed that all employees at the Shaq-owned location will continue to receive full pay with the opportunity to work temporarily at other nearby Krispy Kreme locations.
The AP reports that the location had a storied past long before Shaq got involved. While Shaq bought the location in 2016, it actually opened in 1965. It was apparently one of the first shops to open outside of the company’s main bases of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and Nashville; the location also sent 150 dozen doughnuts to Atlanta churches after Martin Luther King Jr.’s funeral in 1968. Fortunately, Krispy Kreme plans to reopen the shop “as soon as possible.”