A crowd of nearly 30 people pushed through the front door of Piazza's Market in Palo Alto when it was reopened at 3 p.m. Friday.
The store had been closed due to an early-morning major leak of refrigerant from the store's cooling system.
Dennis McClellan, director of the market at 3932 Middlefield Road for the past 23 years, said about 20 market employees were evacuated when the leak was discovered this morning.
Palo Alto Fire Department officials inspected produce to check for residue from the leak but found none. The Santa Clara County Environmental Health Department ordered the market closed until 3 p.m. to make sure the refrigerators were at the correct temperature, McClellan said.
At 3:30 p.m. the checkout lines were jammed with loyal shoppers who had awaited the market's reopening.
The department received a call about smoke at the market at about 6:19 a.m., according to Battalion Chief Niles Broussard. Firefighters arrived at the store, at 3922 Middlefield Road, and traced the leak to a mechanical room at the back of the store. A refrigerator technician quickly shut down the leak, fire officials reported.