The Washington Post

Clifton General Store is damaged in SUV crash

The Clifton General Store has stood as a pillar for more than eight decades, a quaint slice of life in a locale that has resisted the development booms that exploded elsewhere across Fairfax County.

That pillar nearly toppled just after 8 p.m. Wednesday, when a runaway SUV crossed the town’s railroad tracks and slammed into the store.

Fairfax County fire officials responded to the scene on Clifton’s Main Street. Neither the driver nor people in the store were injured, said Deputy Chief Michael Reilly. Police are investigating the cause of the crash, he said.

The crash left the 193os building in a perilous state. Fire crews erected scaffolding to shore up the structure until inspectors could determine whether the building is safe to enter, Reilly said.

In addition to the General Store, the damaged green building is home to the Main Street Pub and a florist, according to the store and town Web sites.

Clifton has a population of about 200 people, with houses dating to the 1700s. The town was declared a National Historic District in 1985.

The SUV struck a corner of the building and disabled the electric meter, which caused a power outage, Reilly said. Crews were working to restore power to the store’s and the pub’s refrigeration systems, he said.

It was not clear when the businesses would reopen.

Clarence Williams is the night police reporter for The Washington Post and has spent the better part of 13 years standing next to crime scene tape, riding in police cars or waking officials in the middle of night to gather information about breaking news in and around Washington.

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