(Updated at 3:55 p.m.) Arlington County’s hazmat team investigated a chemical leak this afternoon following an equipment malfunction at the Harris Teeter grocery store at 600 N. Glebe Road in Ballston.
Firefighters were initially dispatched to the store at 2:34 p.m. for a report of smoke coming from the rear of the building, a chemical odor and some reporting a burning sensation in their eyes.
According to Arlington County Fire Department spokesman Deputy Fire Marshal Brian McGraw, the problem came from a water treatment system that was filtering water for a tank of live lobsters. The system overheated and partially melted. In the process, a chemical — “a type of bromate,” McGraw said — heated and turned into a large vapor cloud.
The system was in a storage room in the back of the store and medics treated a vendor who “breathed in a large amount” of the vapor, McGraw said. The vendor declined an ambulance transport. McGraw said minimal exposure to the chemical is harmless, and customers and employees are now being allowed back into the store.
A health inspector is en route to evaluate whether any food might be contaminated.
Update at 6:30 p.m.: Investigators have determined that the substances found in the apartment were cleaning supplies and chemicals such as acetone, police spokesman Lt. Kip Malcolm told ARLnow.com. The substances were held in “weird containers,” for reasons unknown. Hazmat teams have cleared the scene.
Earlier: Police and the Arlington County hazmat team are investigating a possible drug lab found in a Crystal City apartment.
Arlington County Police, Virginia State Police and the hazmat team were called to the Crystal Square Apartments (1515 Jefferson Davis Highway) this afternoon after the Arlington County Sheriff’s Office found “suspicious items” and substances in an apartment during an eviction. The items include laboratory equipment like respirators, scales and beakers, according to ACPD spokesman Lt. Kip Malcolm.
The hazmat team is performing tests on the items to determine what they are and if they’re hazardous. While the equipment may be for some sort of drug lab, it’s not suspected to be a meth lab, which would have prompted evacuations. So far, the building has not been evacuated, Malcolm said.
There have been no reports of any health problems in the apartment building nor of any arrests made by police. Police have closed a portion of 15th Street S. near the scene as the investigation continues.
Hazmat teams have closed off 9th Street N. between N. Stuart and Stafford Streets to respond to the situation. The suspicious package was found in the mailroom of one of NSF’s two buildings, according to scanner traffic.
The Arlington Alert system sent out a message advising motorists and others to avoid the area while the Arlington County Fire and Police departments complete their investigation.
Photo via @Louis3E
Fallon, Baker Out; Omara, Schneider In for 48th – The list of contenders in the race to replace the retiring Del. Bob Brink (D-48) continues to change. Peter Fallon, mentioned as a possible candidate, says he will not run. Steve Baker, who threw his hat in the ring for a few hours, is no longer running. Young Democrats of America President Atima Omara, meanwhile, is running, as is Yorktown Civic Association President Andrew Schneider. At last count, there are six Democrats and no Republicans in the race.
Endorsements in 48th District Race — Candidates for the 48th District special electoin are starting to tout high-profile local endorsements. Del. Patrick Hope and former Va. lieutenant governor candidate Aneesh Chopra have endorsed Rip Sullivan. Arlington County Board Vice Chairman Mary Hynes, Treasurer Frank O’Leary and Commonwealth’s Attorney Theo Stamos have endorsed Paul Holland. In Arlington, a firehouse Democratic primary in the race will be held on Sunday.
Hazmat Scare at TJ Middle School — There was a hazardous materials scare at Thomas Jefferson Middle School yesterday (Tuesday) afternoon. According to an Arlington fire department spokeswoman, the family of a former school employee who passed away brought a box of art supplies to the school as a donation. A school staff member sorting through the donation opened a bag, smelled a strong odor and began to feel sick. Arlington’s hazmat team arrived and determined that the bag contained a chemical used for gold plating. A cleanup crew was brought in to dispose of the chemical and the employee was transported to the hospital in stable condition.
STEM School Proposed – During a discussion about science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education, the Arlington School Board began talking about the possibility of opening a new STEM-focused middle school or high school. Such a facility could potentially compete with Fairfax County’s Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, a magnet school attended by a number of Arlington students. [InsideNova]
New Va. Laws Take Effect – A number of new laws in Virginia took effect Tuesday. Among them: the abolition of a $64 tax on hybrid vehicles, a law requiring fewer Standards of Learning tests for grades 3-8, and a law that requires motorists to maintain more space between their vehicles and bicyclists. [Reston Now]
Flickr pool photo by Alex Erkiletian
According to a spokeswoman for the Pentagon Force Protection Agency, a suspicious package was discovered in a mail facility adjacent to the Pentagon. Several workers there reported feeling dizzy after the package was opened, were told, but were later evaluated and cleared by medical personnel.
The packaged has been deemed “not a chemical or biological threat,” but is still being investigated, according to the spokeswoman. It’s unclear whether the facility was evacuated following the discovery of the suspicious package — we’re only told that “certain procedures” were followed in order to ensure the safety of the mail workers.
Authorities are trying to figure out why a box of old medical waste was left outside a hotel in Rosslyn this afternoon.
Police were first called around 3:00 p.m. to investigate a suspicious package, found next to a trash can outside Le Méridien hotel at 1121 19th Street N. Upon looking through the contents of the worn cardboard box, police discovered what was reported to be human waste.
Firefighters were then dispatched to the scene to conduct a hazardous materials investigation. They discovered sealed medical waste with labels indicating it was from 1985, according to Battalion Chief Daniel Fitch. Among the contents were blood and various needles.
“There was no leakage, no threatening note,” he said. “I guess whoever dropped it off wanted it to be someone else’s problem.”
A duty fire marshal is remaining on scene to ensure that the waste is disposed of by a qualified contractor. So far, there’s no word of any suspects or criminal charges related to the incident.
Photos by Audrey Batcheller
Update at 1:05 p.m. — The eastbound lanes of Route 50 have reopened after the earlier wreck involving a sewage tanker. According to Arlington County, the sewage that leaked from the tanker into a storm drain will enter Four Mile Run south of I-395, via the Lower Long Branch stream. Parks and streams north of I-395, including Jennie Dean Park in Shirlington and Barcroft Park, will not be impacted by the sewage spill, the county said.
Earlier: Eastbound Route 50 is closed in the area of Fillmore Street due to a serious accident involving a sewage truck.
The accident happened just before 7:00 a.m. A sedan and a sewage truck somehow collided, injuring five and causing raw sewage to leak from the truck.
There were five people inside the sedan at the time of the accident, according to Arlington County Chief Fire Marshal Daniel Fitch. Two had to be extricated by firefighters. In all, three were transported to Fairfax Inova Hospital with serious injuries, and two were transported to Virginia Hospital Center with minor injuries.
Sewage from the truck, which hauls human waste for a portable toilet company, has seeped into a storm drain, Fitch said. Hazmat crews are on scene attempting to contain the sewage.
Eastbound Route 50 will remain closed “until further notice,” Fitch said.
Additional information on Rt. 50 sewage spill. Staff from the Department of Environmental Services have determined that the waste from the spill will enter Four Mile Run South of Rt. 395 via Lower Long Branch Run and will NOT affect any of the parks,streams or Dog parks along 4 Mile Run north from Rt. 395 to Columbia Pike. Jenny Dean park and Barcroft parks will NOT be effected.
Photo (right) courtesy @CAPT258
A suspicious substance in a package caused a scare at a government facility in the 700 block of S. Courthouse Road.
A hazmat team from the Arlington County Fire Department responded to the call of a package in the mail room at the Naval Support Facility (NSF) Arlington that reportedly contained a light colored powdery or crystal-type substance. The Arlington County Police Department was also at the scene to offer support.
There was a brief, partial evacuation of the facility while investigators examined the substance. According to Arlington County Fire Department spokesman Capt. Gregg Karl, the substance has since been found to be non-hazardous and crews have cleared the scene.
According to Karl, although the substance is not hazardous, the case will be taken over by Naval Criminal Investigative Services (NCIS) for further investigation.
The HOV lanes of I-395 have been shut down due to a jackknifed tractor trailer that struck the highway wall divide.
Police have blocked traffic because the truck is leaking fuel and they fear it might ignite. The fuel is coming from a 100+ gallon saddle tank, according to scanner traffic. A hazmat team is being dispatched to the scene.
A long line of northbound traffic is now at a standstill in the HOV lanes.
Police and firefighters are again on the scene at the Pentagon City Metro station for a hazardous materials situation.
Eight bottles filled with a cloudy, yellow liquid were found on both platforms at the station, according to scanner traffic. The situation mirrors an incident on Friday when 10 bottles filled with a yellow liquid were found on the platforms.
No word yet on what the substance might be. Citing an “ongoing investigation,” Metro spokesman Dan Stessel declined to divulge details.
“I can say that the substance in the previous incident was not harmful,” he said.
So far, the station has remained open during this morning’s investigation.
Update at 10:05 a.m. — The incident has been cleared and emergency responders are leaving the scene.
Update at 11:15 a.m. — The all-clear has been given and emergency responders are leaving the scene.
Earlier: Arlington County firefighters and Metro Transit Police are on the scene of a hazardous materials investigation at the Pentagon City Metro station.
Initial reports suggest a series of nearly a dozen soda bottles filled with a yellow-ish liquid were found on the platform. Authorities are trying to determine whether the liquid is hazardous.
The station is still open during the investigation, with only a portion of the platform closed to foot traffic.
“The station is open,” WMATA spokesman Dan Stessel tells ARLnow.com. “They’ve just cordoned off a portion of the platform. Trains continue to service the station normally.”
Stessel said authorities are “investigating unattended items.”
Metro Transit Police officers with bomb sniffing dogs could also be seen searching the area around the station entrance,
Two men have been arrested in connection with last night’s bust of a suspected meth lab in Virginia Square.
Arlington resident William Hudgens, 31, and Leonard Fischer, 44, have been arrested and charged with Attempted Manufacturing of Methamphetamine.
Police were called to an apartment building at 801 N. Monroe Street around 9:30 p.m. on Monday for a dispute. When they got inside, officers noticed items consistent with the manufacturing of meth.
Due to the volatile nature of methamphetamine production, residents on three floors of the 225-unit building were evacuated as a safety precaution. Hazmat and bomb squad teams assisted police in their investigation of the suspicious materials.
Once the scene was deemed safe, members of the ACPD Vice Narcotics Unit executed a search warrant, and arrested Hudgens and Fischer.
The police investigation is ongoing.
The new public plaza at the Penrose Square development along Columbia Pike is still expected to open this fall, despite a recent setback.
The contractor working on the $2 million project found and accidentally ruptured an oil tank earlier this month during excavation work, we’re told. The rupture contaminated part of the site, but the county and contractors worked quickly to remedy the situation.
According to Arlington County Department of Parks and Recreation spokeswoman Susan Kalish:
The tank’s presence was previously unknown by the County. [Arlington] County’s construction manager immediately stopped contractor from working and notified our 3rd party consultant. Samples were taken and the fire marshal and Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (VADEQ) were notified. VADEQ directed County to have the tanks removed by a licensed contractor in the presence of the fire marshal. Samples were also taken to determine the extent of the contamination. Remediation steps have been approved by VADEQ.
Kalish said the plaza is still on track to open this fall.
“Construction is scheduled to be completed and the project opened in fall 2012,” she told ARLnow.com. “This issue will cause some delay, but is still expected to be completed and open in fall 2012.”
The plaza will consist of “a tree-covered, upper terrace with movable tables and chairs; an inner plaza with a water feature; a unique two-piece sculpture called ‘Echo’; an inscription of the historic significance of the site, and a grass mound area shaded with trees for informal seating,” according to the county.
Update at 11:15 a.m. – The all-clear has been given and the hazmat team is packing up their gear.
Some roads are being shut down in the area of 2800 S. Randolph Street in Shirlington due to a hazmat investigation.
According to scanner traffic, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office at 2800 S. Randolph received an envelope with a white powdery substance in it. The Arlington County Fire Department’s hazmat team is checking to see whether the substance is hazardous.
A similar investigation into a suspicious substance was conducted at the same office last Tuesday.
Update at 7:40 p.m. — The all-clear was given at about 5:00 p.m. and the scene has since been cleared.
The Arlington County Fire Department’s hazmat team is investigating a suspicious substance at a federal office in Shirlington.
Hazmat personnel are preparing to enter an office at 2800 S. Randolph Street, according to scanner traffic. They will be performing tests on the substance to determine whether or not it is hazardous.
Among the tenants listed for the 2800 S. Randolph Street building, also known as Randolph Square, is the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.