(Updated at 9:30 a.m.) The W&OD and Bluemont Junction trails were closed in the area of Bluemont Park this morning due to a suspicious device reportedly found near the trail.
Police and firefighters responded to the incident and established a mobile command center at Wilson Blvd and N. Manchester Street. The county’s bomb squad brought a robot to inspect the device, which was said to be located near the park’s tennis courts.
As of 9:00 a.m., the bomb squad determined the device to be safe and the trail was being reopened.
According to Arlington County Police Department spokesman Dustin Sternbeck, a parks maintenance worker found a package in the grass near the intersection of the two trails, and immediately contacted police. It took police about an hour to clear the scene.
An Arlington Alert message this morning said the Bluemont trail was closed, though scanner traffic indicated that the W&OD trail was closed.
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.
Update at 2:45 p.m. — The package has been determined to be safe and the scene is being cleared.
Police, firefighters and the Arlington County bomb squad are staging at the corner of N. Courthouse Road and 13th Street in response to a suspicious package.
According to Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck, a maid in the Arlington Court Suites hotel on Courthouse Road found a small canister labeled “explosives.” It was brought to the hotel parking lot, where the bomb squad is examining it now.
“They’re taking all precautions as necessary,” Sternbeck said. “Until the canister has been deemed a non-threat, the area will remain closed.”
Authorities believe the canister might have been used in a training exercise by the Dept. of Defense, which rented out the hotel over the weekend. Courthouse Road is currently shut down between 13th Street and Route 50.
The package — described as a duffel bag or a backpack — was found on the 600 block of 12th Street S. around 6:15 a.m. The bomb squad carefully inspected the package and set up charges to “disrupt” it.
The “all clear” was given by a bomb technician just past 8:15 a.m. The road is now being reopened, as is the east entrance to the Pentagon City Metro station.
“There’s a lot of construction in the area — a lot of laborers and construction workers bringing their stuff to that area, and with the heightened alert and the TSA headquarters there” authorities are taking every precaution, said Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. “We take every suspicious package call seriously, and it’s our duty and job to go out there and investigate and assume that it’s potentially hazardous.”
Photo courtesy Patrick McNeil
Update at 12:50 a.m. — Police have given the “all clear” and roads are being reopened. The package was disrupted “without incident” and no hazards were found, according to Arlington County Chief Fire Marshal Daniel Fitch.
Earlier: Arlington County police and the county’s bomb squad are investigating a suspicious package in the area of the Transportation Security Administration headquarters in Pentagon City.
Police are shutting down roads within a one block radius of the package, including S. Hayes Street and S. Fern Street between Army Navy Drive and 15th Street S. They have also closed off access to one of the Pentagon City Metro entrances.
According to scanner traffic, a witness told police that the package was dropped off on 12th Street S. by individuals in a white box truck, which then left the scene.
At around 12:35 a.m., the bomb squad conducted a controlled blast to “disrupt” the package. A loud boom could be heard in surrounding neighborhoods. (See video, below)
This was the second suspicious package in the area in the past week.
Update at 3:20 p.m. — The package has been determined to be non-hazardous and the all-clear has been given.
Earlier: Arlington County’s bomb squad is on the scene of a suspicious package outside the Pentagon City Metro station.
Police have established a perimeter around the package, located behind a fence adjacent to a pedestrian sidewalk, near the intersection of S. Hayes Street and 12th Street. A bomb squad member in protective gear has walked over to the package and it is now apparently being inspected or analyzed remotely.
The east entrance to the Pentagon City Metro station, next to the Pentagon Centre shopping center, is closed.
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.
Suspicious Package Shuts Down Va. Square Metro — A suspicious package shut down the Virginia Square Metro station yesterday for part of the evening rush hour. The package was determined to be non-hazardous, according to police.
Traffic Calming Coming to Two Streets — Two Arlington streets — S. Hudson Street between Arlington Blvd and 2nd Street, and 7th Road S. between Carlin Springs Road and Greenbrier Street — will be receiving traffic calming measures. The measures include a narrowing of an intersection, a radar speed display, bike lane markings and additional signage, but no speed bumps. [Sun Gazette]
Support Website for Arlingtonian Accused of Murder — A support website has been set up for Chris Deedy, an Arlington resident and State Department security agent who is accused of second degree murder in the 2011 shooting of a man in McDonald’s restaurant in Hawaii. Deedy’s lawyer says his client was protecting others when he fatally shot the 23-year-old Hawaiian. “Law enforcement officers shouldn’t be treated like murderers when they protect the public,” says the website. [DeedySupport.com]
Interview with Kanninen — The Democratic website Blue Virginia interviewed Barbara Kanninen, who’s running for the Democratic endorsement for Arlington School Board against incumbent James Lander. Asked why she’s running, Kanninen said: “If we don’t have competition, we don’t have anyone even trying to prove that they’re going to be a good School Board member.” [Blue Virginia]
Police are shutting down Washington Boulevard in both directions between I-395 and Route 110.
Initial reports suggest the road is being closed at the request of the Pentagon due to a suspicious package at the 9/11 Memorial. The Arlington County bomb squad is assisting with the incident.
The county is advising motorists to seek an alternate route.
Update at 7:05 p.m. — The suspicious package was “disrupted” by the bomb squad and found to be non-hazardous, according to police. The scene is in the process of being cleared.
Earlier: Police and the Arlington County bomb squad are on the scene of a suspicious package in Aurora Highlands Park near Pentagon City.
A metallic object with red and black wires coming out of it was found in the park around 4:30 p.m., according to Arlington County police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. A portion of the park and its parking lot has been cordoned off with police tape as the bomb squad uses a remote controlled robot to investigate the package.
One lane of S. Hayes Street is blocked by emergency vehicles between 15th Street and Fire Station No. 5.
Crews had been assisting police and fire units from Falls Church, after a resident called about a suspicious device this morning. According to City of Falls Church Communications Director Susan Finarelli, the resident had been digging in his yard in the 200 block of N. Virginia Ave., when he found a potentially hazardous device. Arlington’s bomb squad was called in to assist.
The item in question was found to be an antique military device, and was deemed safe. The military will dispose of the item.
“Nobody was hurt, and now with the bomb squad here, nobody should be hurt,” Finarelli said earlier.
The park and streets around Cherry Hill Park were closed down for more than two hours during the investigation, and several homes were also evacuated. Everything in the area has been re-opened.
N. Nash Street in Rosslyn has been shut down between Wilson Boulevard and the Golds Gym for a suspicious package investigation.
Some sort of suspicious package or device was spotted on the sidewalk, we’re told.
Police, firefighters and the Arlington County bomb squad are on the scene.
Shortly before 9:00 a.m. a suspicious envelope was found at St. Agnes Catholic Church in Cherrydale, which is a polling place for today’s presidential primary election. Police and fire units were on the scene, in addition to the bomb squad. The scene was cleared around 10:30 a.m.
Contrary to our earlier reporting, the polling place was not closed during the brief investigation, according to Arlington County Registrar Linda Lindberg.
While the bomb squad was on the scene of the suspicious envelope investigation, a second suspicious package incident was reported near Washington Blvd and S. 2nd St. At that scene, VDOT workers came across a pipe wrapped in some sort of packaging, lying in the bushes. All eastbound (southbound) lanes of Washington Boulevard were closed at Second Street as a result of the investigation. See our subsequent article for updated information.
Updated at 3:25 p.m. — The bomb squad has cleared the package and all units are leaving the scene.
Earlier: Authorities are on the scene of a suspicious package in Ft. Myer Heights.
Arlington County police and firefighters are at the scene in the 1600 block of Ft. Myer Drive.
Police say an abandoned backpack was found leaning on a natural gas service box. The bomb squad is heading to the scene to investigate.
(Updated at 11:10 a.m.) The Arlington County Fire Department has cleared the scene at Reagan National Airport, where it had been assisting Airport Police with a suspicious package.
The bomb squad took x-rays of the package to determine its contents, but nothing dangerous was found.
The package turned up near the economy parking lot, and that lot closed down during the investigation. Most other airport roads and lots remained open, and no flights or terminal operations were affected. There were also no reported traffic backups due to the lot closure.