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by Ethan Rothstein — December 5, 2014 at 3:45 pm 2,591 0

A second-story bedroom caught fire earlier this afternoon on the 300 block of S. Jackson Street in the Arlington Heights neighborhood.

The Arlington County Fire Department received a call for smoke showing from the bedroom’s window at 1:01 p.m. and the fire was knocked down by 1:15 p.m., according to Deputy Fire Marshal Brian McGraw. Three of the house’s 12 regular occupants were inside when the fire started, a woman and two children, but all refused medical transport.

The damage was largely contained to the bedroom. McGraw said the investigation had just begun into the source and cause of the fire, and couldn’t comment on whether there were working smoke detectors in the residence.

Firefighters, when doing checks of the rooms, found a small amount of marijuana, Arlington County Police Department Lt. Kip Malcolm told ARLnow.com, but the police do not plan on prosecuting the drug charges.

“If someone’s got a joint, or small amount of marijuana, in their house, that isn’t something the police department is going to be interested in spending a whole lot of resources on,” Malcolm said.

by Ethan Rothstein — November 17, 2014 at 2:30 pm 1,778 0

Fatal S. Emerson Street fire (photo via Fox  5)The online fundraiser set up to help Bill and Sarah Barkes — the survivors of the fatal house fire from earlier this month — has reached more than $70,000 in donations, but at least one scam artist appears to be trying to profit from the family’s pain.

According to an update on the Barkes family’s GoFundMe page, a Craigslist post was made by someone posing as a relative of the family under the guise of “collecting money through Paypal.”

The GoFundMe page is maintained by Joy Chadwick, the sister of the mother who died in the blaze trying to save one of her daughters, Emily, who also died. Chadwick has been updating the nearly 1,000 people who have donated to the cause in the two weeks since the fire. Chadwick wrote yesterday that Sarah was released from the hospital after more than a week in intensive care.

“[Bill Barkes] said the doctors were very excited about how fast Sarah was healing and at the this time no surgery is needed,” Chadwick wrote last week. “He said she is working hard on her physical therapy. If she continues with this progress she might be able to leave the hospital by Saturday. She is excited that some of her teachers are coming to visit her today.”

Chadwick wrote the family still has “not decided where they will live.” The cat that was missing after the fire was found and is currently living with Chadwick’s other sister, according to the page.

by ARLnow.com — November 13, 2014 at 10:15 am 1,860 0

Arlington resident Bill Barkes and his 11-year-old daughter, Sarah, are now talking about the house fire they survived last week — the fire that claimed the lives of his wife and her sister.

Barkes told NBC4′s Pat Collins that he tried tried to save Mary and Emily after climbing a ladder and saving Sarah, who is now recovering from severe burns, but the fire was too hot.

“I felt helpless… I didn’t want to leave them,” he said, sobbing, in Sarah’s hospital room. “I wanted to jump in but I figured if I did and I didn’t get out she’d be an orphan.”

Mary, Bill’s wife, died after running back in the house to try to save Emily.

An online fundraising campaign for the family has so far raised more than $66,000.

by Ethan Rothstein — November 6, 2014 at 5:00 pm 3,602 0

Fire victim Mary Barkes and daughter (photo via GoFundMe)(Updated at 5:10 p.m.) An online fundraising drive has raised more than $18,000 to support the Barkes family, the victims of the fatal house fire in South Arlington on Tuesday.

The GoFundMe campaign is up to $18,650 as of 5:00 p.m., with nearly 250 people donating since the campaign launched on Wednesday.

The money raised will help the survivors, Bill and his daughter Sarah, who were both hurt in the fire. Bill’s wife, Mary, and eight-year-old daughter Emily died in the blaze.

“They have lost everything,” the GoFundMe page says. “Their family required two incomes and now they have one. Please make a donation. Anything and everything will help. If you can’t give please say a prayer for Sarah and Billy.”

The page was started by Joy Chadwick, Mary’s sister, who wrote an update to the drive’s blog three hours ago:

“We are at the hospital now with Sarah,” the page says. “She has just had her bandages changed. They have to sedate her in order to change her bandages. Thankfully today she will be moved out of intensive care unit to a regular room. She will still have to stay in the hospital a couple of days. Her arms are wrapped from her shoulders to her fingers. She is being very brave. We are working on their living arrangements. Again thank you so much for everything. Please help us get the word out and share this on your page. God Bless you all.”

The Arlington County Fire Department is still investigating the fire, a process that is expected to take a few weeks. There were no working smoke detectors in the home at the time of the fire, an ACFD spokeswoman said.

Photo via GoFundMe

by ARLnow.com — November 5, 2014 at 10:15 am 5,667 0

We’re learning more about the two Arlington residents who died in a house fire in the Columbia Forest neighborhood early Tuesday morning.

TV stations, including NBC 4 and Fox 5, are reporting that the victims were Mary Barkes and her 8-year-old daughter, Emily.

According to Fox 5, Mary’s husband, Bill, managed to escape the blaze in nothing but his boxer shorts, then used a ladder to save his 11-year-old daughter, Sarah. He was unable to go back into the house due to the intensity of the flames.

Mary, meanwhile, was the first one out of the home, according to NBC 4. She ran back in the home to try to save Emily, but was overcome by fire and smoke. It took firefighters 15 minutes of fighting the flames before they were able to enter the home and find their bodies.

Fatal S. Emerson Street fire (photo via Fox  5)The survivors, Bill and Sarah, were transported to local hospitals for smoke inhalation and burns and are expected to recover.

There were no working fire detectors in the home, according to an Arlington County Fire Department spokesman. The investigation into the cause is expected to take a number of weeks.

by ARLnow.com — November 4, 2014 at 8:35 am 6,664 0

(Updated at 9:00 a.m.) Two people have been killed in an early morning house fire in the Columbia Forest neighborhood.

The two-alarm blaze was reported at 4:17 a.m., at a house on the 1100 block of S. Emerson Street, not far from Wakefield High School.

Firefighters arrived at 4:23 a.m. and found heavy fire extending from the first floor to the second floor. They also encountered an adult and a child who had escaped the fire, standing outside and yelling that another adult and child were trapped inside.

It took about 15 minutes to get the fire under control, according to Arlington County Fire Department spokeswoman Lt. Sarah Marchegiani. Firefighters found the trapped adult and child deceased inside the house.

WJLA reported that the two survivors were an adult man and his middle school-aged daughter. They were transported to Medstar Washington Hospital Center and Children’s National Medical Center, respectively, said Marchegiani.

As is standard procedure for a major fatal fire, Arlington County fire marshals, police and ATF agents are all investigating the blaze.

“It’s going to be a slow and methodical process,” said Marchegiani. “I don’t anticipate any updates today on the cause of the fire.”

In a press release this afternoon, fire officials say the home lacked working smoke detectors.

Early this morning, Arlington County Fire Department (ACFD) responded to a house fire at 1106 S. Emerson St. that claimed the lives of two of the occupants. Firefighters arrived to find two victims outside the home with reports of two additional people trapped inside. Firefighters encountered a large volume of fire on the first and second floors. They called a second alarm, bringing a total of approximately 70 firefighters to the scene, including personnel from Fairfax Fire and Rescue Department and Alexandria Fire Department. It took approximately 15 minutes to bring the fire under control and locate the bodies of the two deceased victims.

The two victims found outside the home were transported by medic unit for smoke inhalation and burns to Medstar Washington Hospital Center and Children’s National Medical Center, both in stable condition.

ACFD Fire Marshals are investigating the origin and cause of the fire, with assistance from Arlington County Police Department (ACPD) and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

One occupant reported the home had no working smoke alarms and they were alerted to the fire by the sound of crackling. Smoke alarms allow for early warning of a fire, increasing the time for escape and the chances of survival.

ACFD urges everyone to:

  • Install smoke alarms on every floor and in every bedroom.
  • Test the alarms every month by pushing the test button.
  • Change the batteries in the alarms twice a year with daylight savings time.
  • Replace all alarms every 10 years, or according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Ensure every person in your home knows and practices your home escape plan. Include a plan for anyone in your home that needs assistance evacuating. Remember to have two ways out of every room, get low, close the door behind you, go to your family meeting place and once outside, stay outside.

Read more information on smoke alarms or request a smoke alarm if you cannot afford to purchase one.

by Ethan Rothstein — September 8, 2014 at 6:00 pm 2,079 0

A dryer caught fire early this evening in a townhouse on the 1100 block of N. Taylor Street in Ballston, igniting the laundry room in the basement of a home.

The Arlington County Fire Department arrived on the narrow street at 5:00 p.m., according to ACFD Battalion Chief Dan Fitch. The home’s occupant found the fire, left the building and called 9-1-1, Fitch said No one else was inside and no injuries were reported.

The fire was knocked down at 5:08 p.m., before it could spread to other rooms or to any neighboring units, Fitch said. The street smelled slightly of smoke in the minutes following the small blaze, but no trace of fire damage could be seen from the exterior of the house.

by Ethan Rothstein — June 24, 2014 at 2:45 pm 3,006 0

(Updated at 2:15 p.m.) A house fire just before 2:00 a.m. Tuesday did $150,000 of damage and sent two firefighters to the hospital, but the home’s occupants were unharmed.

At 1:51 a.m., Arlington County Fire Department received a call for a house fire on the 1700 block of S. Oakland Street, just two blocks away from Fire Station 9 on S. Walter Reed Drive, according to ACFD spokeswoman Lt. Sarah Marchegiani. The occupants, two adults and an infant, had gotten out of their Douglas Park house safely after being woken up by a fire alarm.

The fire was “inside the walls” on the second story of the house, Marchegiani said, making it difficult for firefighters to douse the flames. The fire spread across the second floor and into the attic before firefighters were able to contain and extinguish it.

“It took almost an hour to knock down the fire because they had to basically open the walls to find the fire,” Marchegiani said, adding that the firefighters “were experiencing heavy heat.”

Two firefighters were transported to the hospital via ambulance, one suffering from smoke inhalation and another from “minor trauma.” Marchegiani said both are in good condition as of late this morning.

Marchegiani emphasized that the fire could have turned tragic if it weren’t for the house’s alarms. The Fire Marshal is conducting an investigation into the cause of the fire.

“We credit the fact that there were no injuries to the occupants to the working smoke alarms,” Marchegiani said. “That’s really the message we’re trying to push.”

by ARLnow.com — April 7, 2014 at 9:30 am 1,231 0

Man planting flowers on a sidewalk in Rosslyn

Arlington Neighborhood Village Initiative Launches — The nonprofit Arlington Neighborhood Villages initiative, which seeks to provide services to seniors who wish to remain in their homes, officially launches today after more than a year of planning. [InsideNoVa]

Dogs Rescued from Fire Doing Well — The two dogs rescued from a house fire across from Yorktown High School were taken off oxygen Thursday and were expected to return home this weekend. The dogs suffered smoke inhalation from the fire. [Twitter]

Rosslyn Pros and Cons — Sophie Pyle, an on-again, off-again Rosslyn resident, has compiled a list of what she sees at the pros and cons of living in Rosslyn. Pros: the views and easy transportation. Cons: airplane noise and a lack of nightlife. [InTheCapital]

DJO Senior Named All-Met Player of the Year — Bishop O’Connell High School senior Melo Trimble has been named the boys’ basketball All-Met Player of the Year. He will play at Maryland next year. Wakefield High School’s Dominique Tham was named to the third-team All Met. No other Arlington athletes were named to winter All-Met teams. [Washington Post]

by ARLnow.com — April 3, 2014 at 11:00 am 6,718 0

(Updated at 11:40 a.m.) Arlington firefighters are on the scene of a house fire across from Yorktown High School.

Neighbors called 911 to report the fire at 10:54 a.m., according to Arlington County Fire Department spokeswoman Lt. Sarah Marchegiani. The first units on the scene reported flames and smoke coming from the attic of the home,on the 5200 block of N. Yorktown Blvd. The fire is believed to have started in the kitchen and made its way up to the upper levels of the home.

No one was inside the house at the time and no injuries have been reported, according to Marchegiani. Firefighters, however, located two dogs in the house and brought them outside to receive oxygen for treatment of smoke inhalation. They’re being transported to an animal hospital, according to scanner traffic.

There were unconfirmed reports of a female teenager who ran into the house looking for the dogs, but who had to then run back out. She was reported to be safely out of the house by an assistant principal at the high school.

As of 11:15 a.m., the fire was reported to be under control and crews were checking for hotspots.

by Ethan Rothstein — March 25, 2014 at 2:30 pm 1,194 0

House fire on S. Langley Street (Photo via @Sooo_Sick)The victims of the house fire that claimed two lives in Nauck on March 15 have been identified as Yvonne Barrie and Bobbie Nelson Goins.

Barrie, who was 73 when she died, had lived in the house for two years before the fire, according to her neighbor Roxie Johnson. Johnson said Barrie’s son had built the house and died three years ago, after which Barrie moved into the house.

The next day, March 16, would have been Barrie’s 74th birthday, Johnson said.

Goins, who was 77, had escaped from the fire before going back into the house to try to save Barrie, according to witnesses. He did not live at the house and Arlington County Fire Department spokeswoman Lt. Sarah Marchegiani could not release details of their relationship.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation, Marchegiani said, and there is no timetable for when the Fire Marshal will release the findings.

Photo via @Sooo_Sick

by Ethan Rothstein — March 18, 2014 at 1:30 pm 3,170 0

(Updated at 4:00 p.m.) The man who died on Saturday in the house fire in Arlington’s Nauck neighborhood had already left the burning house before going back in to rescue the female victim.

According to the Arlington County Fire Department and witnesses on the 1900 block of S. Langley Street, the man — who, along with the female victim, has not been identified — was one of several people to have escaped the house before going back inside.

“It was so sad because you could hear people yell, ‘she’s still in there,’” Cheryl Johnson, who lives across the street, told ARLnow.com. “I couldn’t believe it when I saw him go in there. You have to really love someone to do something like that.”

It took 12-15 minutes for firefighters to knock the fire down, Deputy Fire Marshal Brian McGraw said on Saturday, but the house was completely engulfed in flames by that time. ACFD estimates the fire did $550,000 worth of damage to the home. Seven occupants were displaced by the fire and are receiving housing and assistance from the Red Cross.

Witnesses heard multiple “loud booms,” which a neighbor said was from the victims’ oxygen tanks. ACFD spokeswoman Sarah Marchegiani told ARLnow.com yesterday that several factors contributed to the speed of the blaze.

“The fire spread rapidly because of the wind,” Marchegiani said. “Wind gusts were sustained at 19 miles-per-hour and reached up to 28 miles-per-hour. The vinyl siding was also a factor. There’s nothing wrong with that siding, but it caused more rapid fire spread.”

The two bodies were discovered in an upstairs bedroom, ACFD said in a press release sent out just before 3:30 p.m. Tuesday. Firefighters attempted an initial rescue but were forced to retreat when the flames spread rapidly to the second floor and attic. One firefighter suffered smoke inhalation during the rescue.

Roxie Johnson, Cheryl’s mother, said she “thought the water was a little slow getting on the house,” but said there was a fire truck outside the house when the fire was barely showing on the front porch.

“The house went up like a piece of paper,” Roxie Johnson said. “I don’t know how many minutes it took to go up, but in no time it went all over the house.”

Cheryl Johnson said the fire had spread so quickly, and the wind was blowing so hard, that firefighters were spraying down the house next door in attempts to prevent it from catching on fire.

“You could feel the heat from our front steps,” she said. “I didn’t think anything could burn that fast.”

Marchegiani said the Fire Marshal’s investigation is ongoing and no conclusions are expected in the next week. An autopsy is being performed on the victims today. Eighty firefighters responded to the two-alarm fire, and ACFD and the Arlington County Police Department are being assisted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

by Ethan Rothstein — March 15, 2014 at 5:05 pm 7,349 0

(Updated at 7:05 p.m.)Two people were killed in a two-alarm blaze that engulfed a house on the 1900 block of S. Langley Street this afternoon.

The Arlington County Fire Department confirmed on Twitter that two occupants of the Nauck two-story house who had been unaccounted for more than an hour after the fire was reported were found dead. The investigation into the cause of the fire is still ongoing.

According to fire officials, the Arlington County Fire Department received multiple calls for a fire at approximately 3:39 p.m. Firefighters responded to the scene three minutes later to heavy fire and set up high-caliber streams to begin knocking the fire down. Some residents were outside the house and reported that there were occupants stuck inside when the firefighters arrived.

“Units made an aggressive push to search for occupants upon arriving on scene,” Deputy Fire Marshall Brian McGraw told ARLnow.com. “It took probably a good 12 to 15 minutes to knock the fire down just because of the size of the fire.”

“One firefighter was transported to MedStar Hospital with minor burn injuries on his hand, McGraw said. The fire is still under investigation and, as of 4:50 p.m., firefighters were still working through the house putting out “hot spots.” Firefighters from Alexandria and Fairfax County assisted ACFD with the emergency response.

by Ethan Rothstein — December 26, 2013 at 2:45 pm 1,535 0

McLean house fire dog and cat rescue(Updated at 4:35 p.m.) Six cats died as a result of a house fire on Westmoreland Street, just over the Arlington border in McLean this afternoon.

A “small house fire” was called in at 12:30 p.m. today and units from the Fairfax County and Arlington County fire departments responded to the 1900 block of Westmoreland Street. The fire was extinguished “within minutes” according to Fairfax County Fire Department spokesman Capt. William Moreland.

One elderly woman, who was rescued from the home, was transported to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. When firefighters inspected the house, they found six deceased cats, and transported one cat and one dog to a nearby animal hospital.

Fire investigators are on the scene to assess damage to the house and to try to determine a cause for the fire.

Photo courtesy of @CAPT258

by ARLnow.com — May 20, 2013 at 6:00 pm 0

Neighbors of the Lyon Park mother and son whose house was destroyed by fire last week are collecting money for the family’s needs and for their cat’s medical bills.

Three people –  Liz Tefera, her son, and a tenant who was renting a room in the home — were displaced after fire consumed the home on Wednesday, May 15. Tefera and her son, a 7th grade student, are now staying in a local hotel, having “lost everything” in the fire. The blaze also injured Baby, one of Tefera’s two cats, according to neighbor Donna Seabold and her husband, John.

“Two cats were trapped in the house during the fire,” Seabold said. “One cat was found immediately after the fire was extinguished, and suffered only minor injuries. The second cat, named Baby, was not found until the following day in the flooded basement of the boarded up house. Baby has suffered minor burns, respiratory issues, and carbon monoxide poisoning.”

Baby was brought to VCA SouthPaws animal hospital in Fairfax, where she received three days of oxygen treatment. The treatment has improved Baby’s condition to the point where this afternoon she was able to be transferred to the Nova Cat Clinic in Virginia Square, according to Seabold.

Though we’re told that Tefera’s house was insured, neighbors are collecting money to help pay for the family’s expenses, including some $2,000 in medical bills for Baby.

Those interested in helping the family with Baby’s medical bills or with their other expenses can email babyfiremedicalfund@gmail.com for more information. PayPal donations can also be sent to the address.

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