Fire Guts Palm Beach Ice Cream Shop

By Al Pefley  email

Palm Beach, FL (WFLX)

A fire at a Palm Beach landmark delays a special party for a young girl with a terminal illness.

Authorities say the fire  at Sprinkles Ice Cream & Sandwich Shop at 270 Royal Poinciana Way  caused in excess of $100,000 damage.

Sprinkles has been popular place in Palm Beach for many years.  It was a favorite stop for famous people, movers and shakers and celebrities.  People like John Lennon had been in there for ice cream.  In fact, they've got John Lennon's photo on the wall.

The state fire marshal's office has been called in to investigate the blaze. .

Town of Palm Beach Fire Department Battalion Chief Peter Codispoti says the fire that gutted Sprinkles Ice Cream Shop does not appear to be suspicious.

Flames were shooting out the back door of Sprinkles when firefighters got there about 1:15 this afternoon.

The fire is believed to have started in the kitchen in the rear portion of the business. There were two employees working at Sprinkles at the time of the fire.

One investigator says it was possibly caused by a spark from a toaster or other small appliance.

Inside the ice cream shop, the walls are charred and blackened, ceiling tiles, broken glass and furniture is strewn all over the place.

The woman who has owned Sprinkles for the past  eight years,  Donna Marks, came over after getting a phone call.   She stood on the sidewalk and looked at the damage, and was hugged and consoled by a friend as firefighters walked in and out of the shop.

"I'm in shock. I'm very sad," Marks said.

Sprinkles, which opened in October 1983,  has been a Palm Beach landmark for years.

Celebrities including pop star Michael Jackson, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, actress Susan Lucci and others have stopped there for ice cream.

Three other neighboring businesses had to be evacuated.  A package shipping store, a psychic studio, and a beauty spa.

"I was  running up and down the spa saying I can smell fire coming from somewhere. And one of the girls looked outside and she said it's not coming from inside, it's coming from outside. And we just ran out.  There was a lot of smoke, soot coming from Sprinkles. It was very, very black," said Cass Perez, an employee at Spa Cara, two doors away from Sprinkles.

"I was working in the front of the shop and went to the back and noticed there was a lot of smoke coming through the dropped ceiling tiles and I grabbed my fire extinguisher to see if I could be a Good Samaritan but it was already too late at that point," said Jack Rance, an employee at RSVP Pack and Ship, next door to Sprinkles.

The fire happened just a couple of hours before Sprinkles was going to host an ice-cream party arranged by the Make-A-Wish Foundation for a 12 year old girl with a terminal-illness and  20 or 30 of her friends and relatives.

Firefighters from the town of Palm Beach offered to have the party at their fire station several blocks away and firefighters carried several gallons of ice cream from Sprinkles and loaded it in a fire engine so they could move the party to the fire station.

But in the end, Marks said everyone agreed to postpone the little girl's Make-A-Wish party until November, when Sprinkles hopes to reopen.

Batt. Chief Codispoti with the town of Palm Beach Fire Department says it may take a few days before they'll know for sure what caused the blaze.

No one was injured.  Codispoti says other businesses nearby had minor smoke damage.