(Updated at 6:30 p.m.) Metro Transit Police have stepped up patrols in response to this afternoon’s deadly explosions at the Boston Marathon.
“Metro Transit Police Chief Ronald Pavlik has ordered all day-shift patrol officers to remain on duty through this evening’s rush hour to increase the security posture of the transit system,” Metro said in a press release. “Metro is taking this step in an abundance of caution. There is no specific or credible threat against the Metro system at this time.”
“Customers are urged to report suspicious activity or unattended packages by calling Metro Transit Police at (202) 962-2121,” Metro said. “Metro Transit Police continue to monitor events in Boston and will take appropriate measures to heighten security.”
Outside the Pentagon City Metro this afternoon, two Metro Transit Police officers watched riders enter and exit the station. One had military-style rifle and the other had a police dog.
So far, Arlington County Police do not have specific plans to step up staffing levels or patrols, according to ACPD spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. Arlington’s bomb squad also has not made any staffing changes, according to fire department spokesman Capt. Gregg Karl.
Local residents who have friends and loved ones at the Boston Marathon, meanwhile, have been using the Facebook pages of local running stores like Pacers and Potomac River Running to keep track of their whereabouts and well-being.
A suspected gas explosion rocked a high-rise senior living community near Ballston this morning.
One person was flown to a burn center after the explosion, inside The Carlin apartments at 4300 N. Carlin Springs Road, according to Arlington Fire Department spokesman Lt. Gregg Karl. No other injuries were reported.
About 100 residents have been displaced while authorities check the structural integrity of the building, Karl said. They’re being temporarily housed in a nearby church.
Last American WWI Vet Buried in Arlington — Army Cpl. Frank Buckles, the last surviving U.S. World War I veteran, was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery yesterday. Earlier in the day, President Obama and Vice President Biden stopped by to pay their respects as Buckles lay in repose in a cemetery chapel. [American Forces Press Service]
Underground Explosion Rocks Pike Townhouse Complex — An underground explosion caused a manhole cover to fly across the backyard of a townhouse complex near Columbia Pike yesterday morning. Firefighters are still trying to determine what caused the blast, but a strong gasoline-like odor could be smelled in the area. The gas also apparently caused fires to start near water heaters inside the townhouses. The complex is across the street from an auto repair shop and next to Four Mile Run. [ABC 7]
County Offers Tree Grants to Neighborhood Groups — Arlington is offering grants to local groups that want to plant trees on private property in the county. Grant applications are due in July, but groups must file a notice of intent next month. [Sun Gazette]
Pike Apartment Community May Be Redeveloped — Renovations or an out-and-out redevelopment may be in the works for the Greenbrier Apartments at 4975 Columbia Pike. The garden-style apartments were built in 1949 and are considered market-rate affordable. Arlington recently revised its affordable housing goals. [Pike Wire]
Nottingham PTA 5K This Weekend — The Nottingham Elementary PTA 5K Run/Walk is being held this weekend, with a course that will wind through part of North Arlington. Registration for the race ends tomorrow morning. [Active.com]
(Updated at 11:20 a.m.) A white BMW exploded around 8:15 a.m. this morning in the Penrose neighborhood. Police say they believe the blast was accidental.
The explosion happened on 9th Street South between Veitch Street and Courthouse Road. No one was hurt, according to fire department spokesperson Lt. Ed Hughes.
“It appears to be an accident,” said police spokesperson Det. Crystal Nosal. “Nothing at this point leads us to believe it’s intentional.”
The car was parked in front of a single family home, but in proximity of two large apartment complexes: Dorchester Towers and 2121 Columbia Pike Apartments. It is three to four blocks away from the high-security headquarters of the Defense Information Systems Agency.
A witness who lives in Dorchester Towers says heavily-armed police apprehended an approximately 18-year-old male on the fifth floor of the building. So far, authorities are emphatic in their description of the man — who was led away in handcuffs around 10:15 a.m. — as a “person of interest” and not a “suspect.” Witnesses say the man was seen running from the scene of the explosion.
Police say the man and two other witnesses are being questioned, but are not currently “in custody,” as earlier reported. Det. Nosal said she believes the people seen fleeing the scene were merely “running away from an explosion.”
WTOP’s Neal Augenstein is reporting that an acetylene torch had been stored in the back of the car. A police source has also told ARLnow.com that the car belonged to a worker who had an acetylene tank, used for welding, in the trunk.
A member of the bomb squad is currently examining the car for signs of other explosive materials. Arlington police and firefighters have also cordoned off the parking lot in front of Dorchester Towers. Earlier, a robot and bomb dogs searched 9th Street and did not find any other explosives.