Whole Foods Market on Duke Street and the residences above were evacuated around 7 p.m. Wednesday after a vehicle struck a sprinkler head in the building’s garage, according to a store employee on the scene.
Once the sprinkler was struck, the building’s fire alarm was triggered.
Shoppers and residences milled about on the sidewalks awaiting word on when they could re-enter the building during a busy evening at the store. Fire trucks surrounded the building, blocking traffic on Duke Street’s eastbound lane.
“So unfortunate! We hope everyone can get back inside soon!!” the store wrote on its Twitter account.
The busy parking garage has been a place of some concern, prompting Alexandria City Council to mention it as an example of how not to construct one during the approval process of a new Giant grocery store at Potomac Yard.
The incident marked the second time a vehicle had damaged a structure on the block in the last 30 days. On Aug. 28, a drunk driver plowed into Table Talk Restaurant, forcing the eatery into a rare day of closure.