Arlington, VA

(Updated at 3:55 p.m.) A house on the 4600 block of 8th Street South in the Barcroft neighborhood was deliberately set on fire this afternoon.

Arlington firefighters set the house on alight then put out the flames for the filming of a CBS Early Show segment on fire safety. The house was condemned and set to be torn down before the controlled burn was arranged, firefighters tell us.

After the home was fully engulfed, it took about 15 minutes for firefighters to put the fire out.

CBS News correspondent Susan Koeppen, who along with the rest of the TV crew came down from New York for today’s shoot, says the segment will show that sleeping with your bedroom door closed at night could save your life in the event of a fire.

More photos after the jump.

Comments (49)

  1. Any idea on what time this will happen?

  2. Never-mind… just saw the pics and it looks like it is happening as I type!

  3. One minor correction – the house is on 8th Street – not Road.

  4. oh my goodness! I had just looked out the window at work and saw the fire was in my neighborhood. I’m so happy this was not an actual emergency – all sorts of horrible thoughts raced through my mind.

    Thanks ARLnow for the timely info – you saved me from a heart attack (note I came here right away to look for some news).

  5. I hope this stunt didn’t cost the paxtayers a thin dime.

  6. Yeah because it would really be horrible if a fire SAFETY demonstration saved someone’s life….

  7. Not to mention the ability for the county fire fighters to practice/train on a real fire in a real house, but under controlled conditions. A real shame that is!

  8. if they donated the “improvements” the the County for the purposes of fire training it could result in a deduction on the federal income tax. there has been some controversy about this and what is the true “value” of a house, much less a house that one was to tear down anyways.

  9. There’s been an outcry in the Oregon Governor’s race because one of the candidates donated his house to the local fire department for firefighting practice. The property owner wanted the old house cleared away for a new McMansion. He took a $350K federal income tax deduction. There is no genuine dispute this was a permissible charitable contribution (believe it or not) but, as one might expect in a hotly contested political campaign, the rabble are raising a ruckus as to the amount of the deduction.


    The listed owner of the Barcroft residence is Kinsey Properties LLC, who purchased the property from an estate last July. The value of improvements to the property is listed as $48.7K in the County tax assessment records. You can bet that Kinsey or some related entity or person is taking about a $50K income tax deduction on the deal.

  10. I have seen Arl Fire do this several times. An old house in Lee Heights that was to be torn down – got torched with a practice run. Now there is a very nice house there.

    As to TGEoA, you’re kidding right? You really dont want your Fire Department well trained???

    Thumbs up to both the ACFD and also the property owners who regularly cooperate with the ACFD in these situations. It is an excellent opportunity for ACFD to practice what they hope they never face.

    I have only needed ACFD once – they were great!

  11. they are great.

  12. I’m talking about the stunt for the cameras. Firemen do controlled burns all the time.

  13. good job using JMP’s turnout. who has the last laugh now? someone who was cut on a technicality to cover someone elses ass. yes the ACFD are great, lower rank and file anyway.

  14. Really????????????????????

  15. I’d like a burger medium-well with a Coors light. Thanks…..

  16. When will this run on the show?

  17. One or two weeks from now. They don’t have an exact air date.

  18. This method of doing a controlled burn for practice is nothing new in the county. It used to be done fairly regularly when I was a kid and my dad was on the Dept. There is no way to simulate actual fire fighting conditions other than to experience them in real time, for real. The difference between a real house and a “man made” practice structure are much different. I’m glad to see the guys get some real practice. That and the lessons they will teach the viewing public could save someone’s life.

  19. As a volunteer Firefighter/EMT-B with an Arlington County volunteer FD, I can tell you from personal experience that “donated structure drills” are an invaluable training opportunity that provide much more realistic environments for a bunch of practical scenario and skills training. Much of it is stuff that you just can’t get at the Training Academy’s training building (we all know that building like the back of our hands, having gone into it umpteen times during training drills). And the kind of “live burn” training done today is even more valuable as GK pointed out. There’s no substitute for fighting a fire in an actual structure vs. going into a “burn building” specifically built (mostly of cinder block) for the purpose. I’m guessing the career side folks who read this might agree with me here, but that’s just my two cents. Take them as you will. [and to be clear, these are my personal opinions, and they don’t represent those of my volly company, ACFD or any official in Arlington County]

    On another note, anyone know when this segment will actually air on the Early Show?

  20. Does Arlington have its own training building or do you use a neighboring jurisdiction’s?

  21. @Lou — ACFD has it’s own Fire Training Academy with classrooms and, at present, a “smokehouse” building that, at least in my experience, is only used for hoseline management evolutions, ladder training, primary search evolutions, etc, etc. Basically, stuff short of live fire training. The academy did have a 3-story hose tower that was torn down a few years ago. From my experience (as a volunteer in a volunteer-run Firefighter I/II course), we had to go to Alexandria Fire Dept.’s live fire burn building for our live fire burn training days.

  22. isn’t there a Cherrydale Volunteer Fire Dept. on Lee Hwy with at least two pieces of equipment?

  23. Shirley,

    Cherrydale Volunteer FD is a social club. An ACFD Engine with four career people on it runs out of that station. It is the only apparatus in that firehouse.


    Arlington does not have any all-volunteer stations. It does have full-time coverage.

  24. Both Arlington and Fairfax have full-time coverage by paid civil service firefighters and paramedics. Occasionally, the volunteers in Arlington will staff a BLS (basic life support) ambulance and respond out of the Ballston station or for special events, and very rarely will there be a utility truck out checking for down power lines during a major storm. That is the extent of the volunteer emergency aid in Arlington. Your tax dollars more than fund your emergency responders. As for Fairfax, a lot of their units are lettered for the local VFD, and some stations are still owned by the VFD, but it’s always going to be career staffed. You may occasionally see a volunteer or two in Fairfax as well, but not doing primary tasks on a fireground or running major EMS alarms. Montgomery County is very similar to Fairfax, and both Prince George’s and Prince William Counties have an even larger volunteer presence.

  25. I’d be pissed if I were a neighbor and they lit the house next door on fire. I’ll assume neighbor’s were aware of this and were able to close windows, etc. S

  26. we’re not wreckless about that kind of thing, Janet, we’re professionals. and to digress a little bit about some previous comments… yes it’s nice that we get to put our hands on a hoseline and flow water once in a while, but I wouldn’t chalk this one up as a valuable training scenario. spraying a line through the open window is typically not the tactics around here when there’s only one room off. obviously this was more for the demonstration purposes than training, because if they wanted the whole ball of wax, there’d be vertical ventilation (cutting the roof open), and aggressive interior hoseline deployments, maybe even a combination of all of that with a simulated mayday. just my 2 cents.


  28. CMG give it up brother….hell she might have been a netter fireman than you

  29. don’t hide behind a screen name.

  30. Thanks Scott for coming out! I am the owner of Kinsey Properties. I first heard that you can donate houses to the fire department for exercises from an insurance agent of all people. My thoughts were simply. I thought if I am going to knock this thing down anyways, knowing that I still need to come in and do a real demolition after the ACFD is through with it, why not let them use the house for exercise. I called them and you won’t believe how excited they were about this. Initially they weren’t sure if burning was a possibility since Arlington lots are so close together. Last week, they told me, they were going to burn it but not to the ground.

    I was on site to watch the event. I gotta say, these guys know what they are doing. The fire was put out within minutes. What kind of shocked me was how quickly the house went from smoking to ablaze, I think everyone can agree that fire safety is very important. CBS actually came without my knowledge. I was initially surprised to see them there since my goal was not any kind of publicity. I am glad they were contacted though. Did you know that October is Fire Prevention month? I didn’t. The program will air as part of a fire safety segment of the Early Show in a week. This was the first time I saw a house fire and frankly, it scared me. I am glad they are going to show it on national TV.

    As for the tax benefits for my company? Yeah, there is something and the FD already send me the paperwork, I’ll look into it when I have time.

    We have a video of the fire on our facebook page: see it here

  31. Hey ACFD! There is a rundown abondoned house on the 2000 block of S Glebe that should be next on your list. The police have had to run squatters out of there and yet the County will do nothing to make the property owner take action.

  32. We donated a pretty useless car to the fire department once–they used it as practice to set fire to and cut someone out of–much more useful than just having it crushed–and yes, we got a bit of a tax deduction, but not much since the car’s condition was bad.
    And the neighbors around this house knew at least the day before, from what I’ve heard (so hearsay only).

  33. Hmmm, I like that. Perhaps I’ll donate my car in a few years after I drive it to the ground.

    The neighbors got about 16 hours of notice, as I was told by the neighbors. I wish the FD had informed them earlier but they have their considerations.

  34. I donated a house to ACFD a few years ago. No burn, just lots of smoke. Watched a trainee practice a “through the wall ” escape and get stuck because the hole he made was too small for his pack. Bet he appreciated not learning about that in a real fire.

  35. Mr. Mesothelioma

    That was my grandmothers house and it is LOADED with asbestos! That was dangerously irresponsible!!! And you wonder why the neighbors received such short notice.

  36. sure looks like asbestos shingling on that house. while the firemen took the appropriate caution i would hope the neighbors did as well. take a deep breath. NOT.

  37. Mr. Mesothelioma

    The Shingling, the insulation in the attic – ALL asbestos. I guess the asbestos inspector missed it before he gave the hose draggers the go-ahead for a controlled burn.

  38. Hose draggers? Dude get a life. I know you high and mighty Arlingtonians think you live in a bubble, but the world is a dangerous place. Suck it up and be a man and quit your crying.

  39. Mr. Mesothelioma

    “Suck it up and be a man and quit your crying.”

    So breathing asbestos is a hallmark of maturity? Will being more worldly and less “Arlingtonian” build my resistance to asbestos inhalation?

  40. Not exactly a 1403 compliant burn. Window coverings still in place?

  41. Again, this was a demo for CBS’s morning show. Not an actual training burn for the ACFD. How and if NFPS 1403 covers a demo set up for a television station is beyond me.

  42. You are correct Danny… NFPA 1403 does not cover a fire set by the Fire Marshals as a demonstration…

  43. Come on CMG I mean [name deleted per site comment policy -ed.] we all know who you are. Your girlfriend wasnt let go to cover someone else’s ass. She was let go because she couldn’t do the job. So get over it!

  44. first of all, get all your information before repeating what you “heard” about. you weren’t there for her test and retest, so you THINK you know what went down. I’m not interested in debating with you Slim. When someone cuts off their affiliation with the department for WHATEVER reason, it’s up to the Logistics department to properly decommission their property, such as removing their name. How would it look if someone was killed in combat over in Iraq, and ACFD had their name on a turnout coat all over the CBS morning show? That’s careless and ignorant. We continue to issue recruits and volunteers old gear with past members names on it. A quick last minute fix could’ve been duct tape over the name. After all you should know where that’s carried. Come to think of it, who the hell are you? Will the real SlimShady please stand up and stop hiding like a coward behind their screen name.

  45. Boo hoo hoo. Your actions on here make this department look bad. Grow up get over it, and if you dont like it then find another job.

  46. seriously dude, you’re a punk. Stop hiding behind SlimShady and come talk to me. I tell it like it is and make myself known. I am over IT. WE are over IT. Now it’s time for the department to put it in the past and remove her name from THAT. And sorry asshole, I’m not going to find another job. Give me a call sometime, you know how to reach me.

  47. Are you a ACFD fireman? Your posts seem immature and juvenile. I’m not sure as to the intent of your online rants, but as a citizen of the County, I can say you lack professionalism.

  48. Not liking the direction this is going — comments are now closed.

  49. […] very next day, this was posted on a local blog:  I commented that I had no knowledge that CBS was filming the burn and it wasn’t burned […]


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