Update on 8/28/12 at 1:00 p.m. — Police confirm they have arrested two men in connection with the suspected meth lab.
Update at 1:05 a.m. — Residents of the second and fourth floors are being allowed back in the building. The bomb squad is packing up its gear, but police and the hazmat teams are remaining on the scene, according to Fire Department spokesman Capt. Gregg Karl.
An apartment building just a block away from the Virginia Square Metro station has been partially evacuated as police and firefighters investigate a possible meth lab discovered in an apartment.
The area around the Virginia Square Apartments, a 225-unit high rise at 801 N. Monroe Street, has been cordoned off by authorities. Police, firefighters, the bomb squad and a hazmat team are all on the scene, and a decontamination area has been set up. Numerous evacuated residents have gathered outside the Metro station.
So far police are not officially confirming that they’re investigating a meth lab, only officially confirming that they found a “hazmat situation” while responding to a domestic incident on the third floor of the building. Police and the fire department chose to evacuate the second, third and fourth floors of the building, according to Arlington County Police spokesman Lt. Michael Watson.
The homemade production of methamphetamine is dangerous and meth lab explosions happen on a regular basis across the country.
Arlington County has been working on various ways to help residents prepare for an emergency, to get information during an emergency, and to evacuate in the event of a major emergency.
In the video above, county officials discuss several initiatives, including the Arlington Prepares smartphone app, Arlington Alert emails and text messages, and permanent electronic message signs that will eventually be installed along Route 50 and other major local roads.
Also discussed: the county’s state-of-the-art traffic management center, which can adjust the timing of Arlington 282 traffic signals in the event of a weather emergency or an evacuation.
Arlington Central Library (1015 N. Quincy Street) was evacuated around lunchtime today due to an odor of gas in the building.
Firefighters investigated the odor, but have since left. Library spokesman Peter Golkin says the library was back open as of 1:45 p.m.
So far there have been no reports of anyone becoming sick because of the odor, Golkin said.
The National Science Foundation building at 4201 Wilson Boulevard in Ballston was evacuated after an apparent lightning strike caused an electrical fire.
At least one witness reported hearing a popping sound as power went out. Rancid-smelling smoke spilled out of the building’s parking garage as a large fire department response surrounded the building.
While firefighters investigated the smoke, dozens of office workers stood outside in the light rain, waiting for the building to be reopened. Fire equipment blocked the westbound lanes of Wilson Boulevard.
There are reports that another building across the street was evacuated due to the smell of smoke. Firefighters believe the smoke was coming through an underground tunnel from the NSF building.
Much of Ballston, including Arlington Central Library, is currently without power.
Update at 2:20 p.m. — Most of the fire crews at the NSF building are packing up their gear. The actual fire investigation seems to be on the P2 level of the NSF parking garage.
Update at 2:25 p.m. — Wilson Boulevard has now reopened.
Update at 9:10 p.m. — From NSF spokesperson Dana Topousis: “The National Science Foundation (NSF) will be closed on Thursday, October 28, due to a power outage. Employees are encouraged to check NSFAlert.com for updates.”
Update on 10/28 — Dominion’s Le-Ha Anderson sheds more light on why the NSF building is closed here.
Wakefield High School was evacuated this afternoon due to a report of a strong odor of gas coming from a science lab.
Firefighters investigated and determined the gas odor was actually coming from lawnmowers that were being used outside. The odor had wafted into the school from an open door, according to principal Doris Jackson.
Students returned to class shortly after 2:00 p.m.