The townhouse near S. Buchanan Street and 29th Street was vacant and undergoing renovations.
Arlington County Fire Department spokesman Capt. Gregg Karl says the fire started in the basement where construction work was taking place, and spread to the first level. The first and second levels sustained heat and smoke damage.
The fire is currently out and crews are beginning to be released from the scene. The Arlington County Fire Marshal’s office has a representative at the townhouse to begin the investigation.
No construction workers or fire fighters were injured.
Photo courtesy @gogogaryo via Twitter.
Firefighters responded to a small fire at Silver Diner in Clarendon (3200 Wilson Boulevard) this afternoon.
The fire was reported in a trash compactor behind the restaurant around 3:00 p.m. The flames, which did not appear to pose a threat to the building, were extinguished by the time fire trucks arrived on scene. Firefighters used a hose to douse some of the smoldering contents of the trash compactor.
Patrons of the diner did not evacuate the building during the incident, we’re told.
(Updated at 10:45 a.m.) Firefighters are leaving an apartment building on the 1900 block of Columbia Pike, where they responded to a fire earlier.
Arlington and Fairfax County units fought the small blaze, at the Archstone Columbia Crossing apartments. According to Capt. Gregg Karl, the fire started in a second floor utility closet and spread to an apartment.
There is some water damage on the first and second floors, but there’s no estimate yet on the cost of that damage. There were no reports of injuries.
Right now, investigators are trying to determine exactly what started the fire.
We hear that lightning from last night’s storms most likely sparked the fires, though as of this afternoon an Arlington County Fire Department spokesman was unable to confirm any details about the cause.
ACFD spokesman Capt. Gregg Karl did reveal, however, that there was “significant damage to both attic areas.”
Photo courtesy @VolunteerHappy
(Updated at 10:40 a.m.) About two dozen firefighters battled a fire at the Lucky Seven Food Mart at 2406 Shirlington Road in the Nauck neighborhood this morning.
The original call for smoke and flames coming from the store’s roof came in around 9:30 a.m., and drew firefighters from Arlington, Alexandria, Ft. Myer and Fairfax County.
Firefighters used picks and chainsaws to cut holes in the roof in an effort to extinguish the flames. Other firefighters inside the store used thermal imagers to find hotspots in the ceiling.
The spectacle attracted a crowd of nearly three dozen neighbors. Shirlington Road was closed in both directions during the fire, forcing cars and buses to find alternate routes.
No injuries were reported.
A pedestrian walk signal at the intersection somehow caught on fire around 11:30 this morning. The fire was minor and eventually burned itself out, but not before passersby caught sight of smoke coming from the signal. As a result of the fire, power was temporarily cut to all traffic signals at the intersection.
As of 12:10 p.m., the lights were operating on battery power and blinking red. Police were on scene assisting with traffic control.
(Updated at 6:45 p.m.) One lane of Columbia Pike is back open in each direction after the road was shut down between S. Monroe Street and S. Oakland Street due to a fire at a chicken restaurant.
A significant kitchen fire broke out at the El Rancho Peruvian Style Chicken & Latin Grill restaurant on the 3600 block of Columbia Pike around 5:00 p.m. Firefighters had to tear out the restaurant’s duct work to battle the blames, we’re told.
The restaurant is expected to remain closed for a few weeks while repairs are made. There was no damage reported at an adjacent drycleaning business.
It’s National Barbecue Month, and as the weather warms up, more people are firing up the grills. But before getting caught up in grilling, it might be a good idea to make sure you’re familiar with the Arlington County fire code.
According to Arlington County Fire Department spokesman Captain Gregg Karl, problems can arise with people in multi-unit residences, such as condos and high rise apartments, who may not even realize they’re violating the code.
No grills, combustible devices or open flame cooking devices are to be used or stored on balconies and rooftops. Fire pits and similar types of warming devices are also banned. Electric devices without an open flame are acceptable.
Most standalone homes and townhouses with ground level patios are exempted from the rules. However, the fire department still recommends trying to keep the device 15 feet away from the building, or as far as space allows.
“You do still have the potential for a fire if something goes wrong with the grill,” Karl said. “We want people to be aware of where they’re putting the grill and the potential dangers.”
Landlords are supposed to inform tenants, in writing, of all the fire code regulations upon move-in and lease renewal. After that, tenants are responsible for following the regulations.
Those who are found to be in violation of the code will be issued a notice and given the opportunity to remove the offending items. Failure to correct the violation could result in a citation and fine.
Karl encourages people with questions about the rules to call the Arlington County Fire Prevention Office at 703-228-4644.
Due to our area being about four inches below normal in rainfall for the year, more small fires have been sparking. Arlington County Fire Department Captain Gregg Karl said the county isn’t experiencing as many brush fires as some neighboring areas, but there have actually been a lot of mulch fires in the past few weeks.
According to Karl, most of the trouble has been with smokers trying to extinguish their cigarettes in plant boxes or areas with mulch. In many cases, the cigarettes smolder on the extremely dry, flammable material and then start a fire. Even drivers throwing cigarettes out of car windows has been causing trouble, because there’s mulch on many of the street medians in Arlington. Smokers are reminded to make sure cigarettes are completely extinguished, and to only use approved receptacles to dispose of them.
Even if we get some rain this weekend, it likely won’t be enough to alleviate the elevated fire danger.
“Unless we were to get a good, long, soaking rain, the fire danger will remain,” Karl said. “We need a persistent rain for a few days to get our levels where they need to be.”
Karl said some residents hear about red flag warnings and have questions about open burn restrictions. However, open burns of items such as yard clippings and debris are never allowed in Arlington, per the county code.
Another thing that goes hand in hand with warm weather is grilling, which can be a hazard as well. Anyone using a charcoal grill is reminded to use extra caution with the coals.
(Updated at 3:35 p.m.) Arlington County, Alexandria and Fort Myer firefighters are battling a restaurant fire in Crystal City.
A fire that broke out in the kitchen of the Matsutake Hibachi Steak and Sushi restaurant (320 23rd Street S.) spread to the duct work, making firefighting efforts more difficult than usual. Half an hour after the initial fire dispatch, no flames could be seen from inside the restaurant but light smoke was still billowing out of the doors and vents.
A crowd of onlookers gathered to watch the fire response. S. Clark Street has been shut down at 23rd Street due to emergency equipment in the roadway. Meanwhile, smoky conditions have been reported in the nearby Buchanan apartment building as a result of the fire.
As of 3:35 p.m., firefighters were starting to pack up their gear and most of the smoke had dissipated.
Update at 4:55 p.m. — Per Arlington Alerts, S. Clark Street has reopened.
The three large loss fires (causing more than $50,000 in damage) compare to 10 large loss fires in both FY 2009 and FY 2010, and 20 large loss fires in FY 2008.
“One is too many… [but] for us that’s a big milestone, a big accomplishment,” Fire Chief James Schwartz told ARLnow.com. Schwartz credited the community for good fire prevention practices and for quickly calling 911 whenever they see a fire. He also credited Arlington firefighters for fast response times and a high degree of firefighting competence.
“Obviously large fires start as small fires, so the quicker we can get [notification] and the quicker we can get highly competent firefighters on the incident scene, the more we can contain the fire and hopefully keep it small,” Schwartz said. In FY 2011, the average response time was 4.2 minutes.
Financial Year 2012 doesn’t end until the last day of June, but fire officials are projecting another good year for the department. The number of large loss fires is projected at 5, and average response time is projected at 4.1 minutes. Among the estimates for other types of calls handled by the fire department in FY 2012:
- Medical calls: 16,000
- Fire and fire alarm calls: 8,000
- Hazmat calls: 1,000
- Non-emergency public service calls: 1,700
The proposed $49 million fire department budget for FY 2013 actually cuts funding to the department by 2 percent, but Schwartz says the decrease is due to specific program cuts and will not impact the number of firefighters on duty. The two biggest reductions in expense comes from a smaller firefighter recruiting class and the elimination of regional emergency medical program that Arlington operated under grant funding from the federal government.
The Arlington County Fire Department is on the scene of a reported fire at Key Elementary School (2300 Key Blvd).
Initial reports suggest the fire is contained to the school’s freezer and possibly electrical in nature. The school has been evacuated, according to scanner traffic.
Firefighters on the scene say they were able to extinguish the small blaze after power to the freezer was shut down.
Firefighters responded to an apartment fire at Potomac Towers (2001 N. Adams Street) in the North Highlands neighborhood tonight.
Initial reports suggest a smoky kitchen fire broke out in an apartment on the fifth floor around 5:30 p.m. The blaze was quickly extinguished once firefighters arrived on scene and no injuries have been reported.
Heavy smoke has been reported in parts of the apartment building. Firefighters are working to ventilate the building.
(Updated at 1:45 p.m.) A fire broke out at the Berkeley Apartments building at 2900 S. Glebe Road this morning.
Flames and heavy smoke were spotted coming from a second-floor apartment just after 11:30 a.m. Firefighters from Arlington, Alexandria and Fairfax responded and were able to extinguish the flames within minutes, said Arlington County Fire Department spokesman Lt. Gregg Karl.
No injuries were reported. S. Glebe Road was blocked for about two hours during and after the fire. The apartment building is just across from the Arlington Ridge Shopping Center.
Photo (top) courtesy Lt. Gregg Karl/ACFD
(Updated at 11:40 a.m.) Firefighters are on the scene of a kitchen fire at Cafe Asia restaurant (1550 Wilson Blvd) in Rosslyn.
The fire, which reportedly started in an oven, was quickly extinguished. Nonetheless, the office building above Cafe Asia was evacuated as a precaution, sending scores of workers out onto the sidewalk.
Firefighters have started to pack up their gear and leave while light, hazy smoke is ventilated from the restaurant.
No word yet on whether the restaurant will have to close for an extended period of time. Normally, a health inspector must give the okay for a restaurant to reopen after a fire.