Alexandria, VA

An athletic pursuit is leading to some hazmat calls around Alexandria.

The Alexandria Fire Department responded Tuesday afternoon to investigate a white powder discovered along the 800 block of Duke Street in Old Town, according to AFD spokeswoman Raytevia Evans.

Not to worry. Investigators determined that the mysterious substance was just chalk used by a local running group to mark their route.

A passerby made the call around 2:30 p.m. It was answered by fire marshals, hazmat and medic units, engines from stations 204 and 209, and a truck from station 209, Evans said. The Alexandria Police Department also arrived on scene for the investigation.

Running groups known as hashers — their slogan: “a drinking club with a running problem” — frequently mark their routes with chalk spray, spray paint, reflective tape, flour or marking flags. The practice occasionally alarms passersby who associate unknown powders with nefarious activity and call the police.

ALXnow took note of a previous hazmat call in November, which involved a running club marking a local trail with flour.

Image via Google Maps

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Morning Notes

Most City Facilities Open on Monday — “City of Alexandria government offices, libraries and recreation centers will be open on Monday, November 11.” [City of Alexandria]

Veterans Day Ceremony Planned — “The City of Alexandria and Friends of Rocky Versace will host the 18th Annual Veterans Day Ceremony on Monday, November 11, 1-2 p.m. at Mount Vernon Recreation Center (2701 Commonwealth Ave.).” [City of Alexandria]

More Details About ‘The Mill’ — “A restaurant partner has been announced for The Mill, a southern market and kitchen slated for a historic warehouse on the Alexandria waterfront. Builder Murray Bonitt of Bonitt builders announced James Beard Award-winning Chef John Currence will lead the restaurant concept.” [Patch, Zebra]

Del Ray Mom Has Tasty Business — “Heather Stouffer, who lives and works in Alexandria, launched Mom Made Foods from a card table at the Del Ray Farmers Market in 2006. The company is now helping parents nationwide and is on the cusp of launching a new option for lunch boxes.” [Alexandria Living]

Hazmat Scare Was Just Flour — “Scanner: Alexandria firefighters and hazmat team dispatched to a local trail for a report of a suspicious white powder. Arriving units determined the substance to be flour, used by local runners to mark the trail.” [Twitter]

Backups on King Street Due to Chicken Sandwich — “Around lunchtime today, the sandwich was causing a traffic jam in front of the Popeyes at 4675 King Street… One lane was effectively blocked along westbound King Street approaching the Walter Reed/Beauregard Street intersection as drive-thru customers waited over 40 minutes to get their hands on the savory combination of bread, fried chicken and sauce.” [ARLnow]

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Due to a reported oil spill near the Arlington/Fairfax County border, Alexandrians are being encouraged to avoid the waters of Four Mile Run.

In a press release today, the city says people and pets should steer clear of the stream for the next 24-48 hours. Fishing is also being strongly discouraged.

More from the City of Alexandria:

On Thursday, Oct. 31, Arlington County Hazmat Crews were dispatched to the 4200 block of S. Four Mile Run Drive near Barcroft Park for a chemical odor, upstream from the City of Alexandria. Arlington County has advised residents and visitors to avoid contact with — and keep their pets out of — Four Mile Run downstream of Columbia Pike for the next 24 to 48 hours.

The Arlington County Fire Department and the Arlington Department of Environmental Services determined that the source originated upstream of Arlington County, in a neighboring jurisdiction. Crews placed boom filtering devices in the water at various locations along Four Mile Run to contain the released product. People should not fish in the stream or have any contact with the water until further notice. The Arlington advisory to avoid all contact is considered an extra precaution to allow the effect of the discharge to be diminished by natural flushing of the streams. Drinking water is not affected by the incident.

Anyone who has been in Four Mile Run and is experiencing medical symptoms, such as sore throat or eye irritation, should seek medical attention.

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