Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com March 30, 2011 at 8:03 am 2,569 28 Comments

ACFD Gets New Bomb Squad Truck — The Arlington County Fire Truck recently took delivery of a new, custom-built bomb squad truck. The bright red truck was one of six delivered to area public safety agencies through a contract with the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments. The ACFD Fire Marshal’s office handles bomb disposal duties in the county. [Va. Fire News]

Documentary Project Accepting Applications — Arlington high school students interested in working in documentary production can apply for an internship with the 2011 Document Arlington Project. The project, run by Arlington Independent Media, allows six students to work together over the summer to produce two 15-minute documentaries about the Arlington community. [Arlington Independent Media]

USS Arlington Christened — Arlington County fire chief James Schwartz spoke at Saturday’s christening of the USS Arlington in Pascagoula, Miss. “The hearts of Arlington County will sail with you,” he said to the crew. [Sun Gazette]

Flickr pool photo by Leah M. Kimper

  • JohnW

    Just curious…how many bombs say in the last ten years have the ACFD responded to?

    • Josh S

      I see where you are going and I am sympathetic to the notion. And I do hope this is the only bomb squad truck in the county. However, I think of it like having fire trucks at the airport – we all hope they are never needed, but when they are, you’re glad they are there….

      • mehoo

        Yes, and being next to the capital and home to the Pentagon and many other federal facilities, we’re a special case anyway.

      • Joe M.

        Using that logic we should put snipers on every roof and metal detectors in every building.

        • Arlington, Northside

          No, you just put them at the high threat targets. Arlington is a much higher threat target than most places in this country.

    • NArl

      The Police and Fire department respond to a lot of bomb calls in the year. I think about 3 a month. They are also on standby when the county has major events, or other stuff going on in the county. The last bomb truck was an old bread truck, so anything is better.

      • V Dizzle

        So no more freshly baked baguettes at bomb scares?

      • Overgrown Bush

        I would guess it was a converted old bread truck, right? I would think a truck built to contain a bomb explosion would be significantly different than one built to transport light and fluffy bread!

        • CW

          The truck doesn’t contain explosions, it just holds all their junk.

          For actual disposal they use something like this:

          Not sure if ACPD has one; the last time I saw one was during the Marine Corps Marathon. One of the Federal agencies had theirs set up near the Cemetery entrance.

          Also, I’d imagine the majority of the bomb calls are put in by novapj to create photo opps.

          • Arlington, Northside

            The new truck has some capabilities in the transport department that the old one did not. “The body also carries exposive containment lockers.”

          • CW

            Hmm, ok. Seems kinda odd to be using your mobile HQ as your venue for detonating things..maybe the features you mentioned can be detached for those purposes?

          • Nooner

            I believe the lockers are used to store/ secure explosives that are used to explode devices in a controlled manner.

          • CW

            Yeah dude, that makes a hell of a lot more sense than blowing up the bombs in the back of the truck.

    • Lumiere

      Reading the linked story reads as if that vehicle has a ton of additional support capabilities that make it much more then just a Bomb Disposal unit.

      • Lou

        Plus, without even reading the article I’m going to guess it is being provided by some federal grant money maybe through DHS and Arlington is paying hardly any money for it.

    • Arlington, Northside

      Only need it once, and not have it, to see its true worth. That said, I am not sure why we don’t have agreements with all the other area agencies, kind of seems over kill with every jurisdiction having their own stuff. Sharing could definitely mean saving in this case. Travel time during 9/11 type days would be the only reason to have some many of these around.

    • Hank

      +1 , but in reality the question is rhetorical because someone else (the Fed Govt.) is paying for it.

  • Evil

    Just wanted to comment that the photo with this story is awesome!

    • brendan

      agreed. normally not a fan of this kind of editing but this shot comes out really well.

  • CW

    The Arlington County Fire Truck??!

  • Arlington, Northside

    May the USS Arlington have calm seas and serve the Marines and Sailors of our great Nations well for years to come!

  • Penny Wise

    Another bomb truck? I’d like to know how much this cost. Whether it be the Arlington tax payers, or America as a whole, this new toy was definately EXPENSIVE! There are endless bomb resources in the region, Arlington doesn’t NEED this. Also, they already have a bomb truck, loaded with more toys than they could ever need. This is wasteful spending no matter who paid for it.

    • Arlington, Northside

      It is a needed asset to replace the the old panel truck. But you do make a good point about all of the regions other assets. BUT, think about a 9/11 type day, how long would it take a bomb squad in Fairfax City or Rockville to get to Rosslyn? I would say hours. Distribution of the assets is needed to a point. This is a lot of money spent, except when you didn’t spend the money and the time comes that you need the stuff.

    • mehoo

      First you say you don’t even know how much it cost, then you say it was expensive and wasteful. Then you claim to know that there are “endless” bomb resources in the region.


    • AllenB

      For some reason, when I read your post the phrase “frequently wrong but never in doubt” comes to mind.

  • John

    Nice photo !

  • brendan

    As far as cost — I think if there’s any county in the country where this expense makes sense it’s arlington. With all the federal agencies, holding facilities and densely populated soft targets, it certainly makes sense to be prepared for the possibilty of a bomb attack.

    In the wake of 9-11 several rural communities went out and purchased all this terrorism response crap – bomb truck, robots, mobile command units, etc. which was really pretty stupid. But given the type of threats we face here and the relative risk we face, this makes a lot more sense than some of the other expenses – like the 2,000 ft granite/stainless steel emergency operations kitchen.

  • Because

    The ACFD bomb squad (part of the Fire Marshall’s office) is responsible for both Arlington County and Alexandria City calls. There is alot of regionalization that some of our esteemed co-commentators are not aware of, which is not surprising given their total lack of actual factual information on most matters for which they feel compelled to share their 2 cents. That said, to argue the need for a properly equipped bomb squad in a jurisdiction such as Arlington is hardly worthy of further comment. Keep your heads in the sand if you will, but don’t clog the roadways asking for directions when the next Big One occurs. There is a lot of waste in government expenditures, for sure… but I think even the best of you would be stretching your abilities in questioning something so basic for a FD that handles the west half of the Big Target that is the WDC area.


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