Gas Leak Strikes Store

Gas Leak Strikes Store

The Route 7 Food Lion is evacuated; one employee is taken to the hospital.

Food Lion at Cedar Lake Plaza on Route 7 in Sterling was evacuated, and one employee was taken to the hospital because of a gas leak.

Lt. Sam Myers of Loudoun County Fire & Rescue said a line leading to a refrigerator unit in the deli broke, leaking Freon. There was no odor, he said. "The biggest thing with that is it takes away oxygen."

A Sterling Park fire engine and rescue squad, a Cascades fire truck, and Battalion Chief Mike Richardson were called to the scene at 5:23 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 4, Myers said. The firefighters secured the leak and set up industrial size fans to air the building out. "They take all that bad stuff and push it out of the building," he said. "Our job is to stop the immediate threat."

The store was evacuated before fire and rescue workers arrived. Myers and Lion Food supervisors said they were unsure how many employees and customers had been in the store. A female employee was treated and released from the hospital.

Myers' fire department unit, Company 11 of Sterling Park, remained at the store until maintenance workers arrived. It returned to the fire station at 7:12 p.m. He said the store could not open until the Loudoun County Health Department inspected the products to determine if anything needed to be discarded.

Victor Avitto, the health department's urban division supervisor, said the food was fine. "The temperatures were still in compliance when the power was restored," he said. The store reopened the next morning.

Myers said the cause of the break was unknown.

Jeff Lowrance, spokesperson for Food Lion headquarters in Salisbury, N.C., said a line could fail just like air conditioning hoses do periodically.