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UPDATED: Bomb Threat at Mental Health Facility

by ARLnow.com May 8, 2012 at 2:54 pm 3,267 28 Comments

Update at 5:20 p.m. — The building has been cleared by the bomb squad. George Mason Drive has reopened.

Earlier: The Drewry Mental Health and Substance Abuse Center at 1725 N. George Mason Drive has been evacuated due to a bomb threat.

The bomb threat was phoned in by an adult female caller around 12:30 this afternoon, according to Arlington County Police Department spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. A total of five bomb-sniffing dogs — two from Arlington and three Alexandria — were brought in to sweep the building for any possible explosives. Two of the dogs got a “hit” on a spot within the center, according to scanner traffic, prompting the evacuation.

Arlington bomb squad units are currently on the scene investigating.

Police have shut down George Mason Drive in both directions between 16th Street and 20th Street. Buses are being rerouted as a result.

In addition to clients and staff of the Drewry Center, children have been evacuated from the NVFS Head Start Child Development Center on the premises. The Drewry Center is adjacent to Virginia Hospital Center, but the hospital is still open for normal business, according to Arlington County.


  • Missing Words Specialist

    “to the”

  • John Fontain

    You’d have to be crazy to call in a bomb threat to that place.

    • CrystalMikey

      He’ll be here all night folks!

  • Ballstoni

    i dont understand the part about the dogs.

    • ArlForester

      bomb dogs.

    • John Fontain

      There was a dog named spot within the center. Two of the bomb sniffing dogs decided to hit on him instead of doing their job and sniffing for bombs. Obviously.

      • Richard Cranium

        Wait – who’s hitting dogs?

        • CW


          • John Fontain

            Bam! A full 360.

  • Steve

    You you evacuate this place for a bomb threat but not the mall??? Things that make you go “hmmmmm?”

    • Ballston

      If the dogs had a positive hit at the mall, it would have been evacuated as well. This facility wasn’t evacuated until the dogs had the positive hit.

      • MHworker

        Actually, we were evacuated before the dogs got there.

      • Sticky Wickett

        Ballston always looks like it has been evacuated so would there really be a point to do so?

    • Just the Facts

      Unless something specific is found (suspicious item, hit by a bomb dog), the decision to evacuate or not due to a bomb threat is left to the property owner/manager.

  • Always Right

    Bet it was one of the patients who made the call.

    • John Fontain

      Are you out of your mind. That would be nuts!

  • Graham Marsden

    The NVFS Head Start program in Arlington has been evacuated due to nearby bomb scare. All children and staff are safe and accounted for. Our staff is monitoring the situation and getting in touch with parents to alert them of our evacuation site. Safety is our #1 priority.

  • 4MileRunner

    two of the dogs got in heat on Spot in the center?

  • DSS10

    Someone was going to fail their drug test today….

  • Junior

    In the days of responsible old media, routine bomb threats were not reported so that the clowns who make them aren’t encouraged by the attention they get. Seemed like sound policy to me.

    • TLC


      • bob

        But then there’d be nothing for the “very useful” comments section of arlnow.com to spread rumor and uninformed commentary about!

        • drax

          They could still take cheapshots at the mentally ill, so its okay.

    • Josh S

      Of course in the old days, old media couldn’t get news out instantaneously, so I’m not sure if it was always a conscious choice or not.

      In any case, +1. If a bomb had actually exploded but ARLNow didn’t report it until after it did – I don’t think I would fault ARLNow at all.

  • Ragtime

    I was outside around then and I think it was an older black lady 40-50’s. I saw her come in with 3 cops and 2 others escorting them in the front of the police station.

  • brian

    so all those people in the picture receive mental health services?

    • drax

      Yes. None of them can possibly be staff at the mental health center, kids or staff at the Head Start program who were also evacuated, or just onlookers. Not possible.

    • nom de guerre

      The individuals that are pictured are staff, parents and children that had been evacuated from the NVFS Head Start Child Development Center which is located next to the Drewry Mental Health Center.


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