Fire at Courthouse Dry Cleaning Shop

by ARLnow.com January 3, 2013 at 9:00 pm 1,974 34 Comments

Firefighters battled a small but smoky fire at Highland Shoe Repair (2020 14th Street N.) Thursday night.

A fire broke out around 7:15 p.m. in the back room of the shop, according to Arlington County Fire Department spokesman Capt. Gregg Karl. The blaze was quickly extinguished after firefighters arrived on scene, but not before it generated a considerable amount of acrid-smelling smoke.

Highland Shoe Repair offers off-site dry cleaning services in addition to repairing footwear and performing garment alterations. Numerous Arlington County police and sheriff uniforms can often be seen awaiting pickup at the shop, as police headquarters and the county jail are located across the street.

The fire and the firefighting effort also impacted the deli and lobby on either side of the shop. A light haze could also be seen inside the next-door Courthouse Deli, and the lobby of the office building that houses both shops — recently purchased by Arlington County for use as offices and as a year-round homeless shelter — was flooded by about an inch of standing water.

No injuries were reported as a result of the fire, Karl said. The fire response prompted police to shut down busy Courthouse Road between 13th and 15th Street N.

No word yet on the exact cause of the fire or on when the shop might reopen. The Arlington County Fire Marshal is investigating the incident.

Photo of ladder truck (above) courtesy @acsjacobson

  • I wish a speedy recovery to the shop. He has resoled three pairs of shoes of mine in the last year and does a tremendous job. My shoes come back looking like new but feeling like mine. Highland Shoe Repair is worth going out of your way for quality work on your favorite dress shoes.

  • I wish arlnow posted the pictures of the ACPD parked illegally on the fire hydrants. They do this everyday.

  • Konis
  • Buck Futter

    I wish arlnow commenters and voters realized the County government cares more about building more space for the homeless than providing ACPD with more than 10 spots at a POLICE STATION on that block.

    • BBMS

      They encourage the police to be OUT, not sitting around at the station.

      For instance, I saw two of Arlington’s finest enjoying Chick-fil-A at Ballston last night. Good to seem them supporting good Christian values.

      • J

        You mean you saw cops eat dinner? Oh wow, what an outrage!! This is horrible to think that we allow our public safety officials to eat! And they didn’t even think to ask you if it was fine to eat at CFA! Crazy!!!

        • BBMS

          What gave you the impression that I thought it was bad for them to take a dinner break?

          • Quoth the Raven

            Uh, your comment did. If you don’t think it’s a problem, then why bring it up?

          • BBMS

            @Quoth the Raven, so I can’t comment on something here unless I am raising it as a problem? Got it. I will keep that in mind.

          • Quoth the Raven

            Nice try. Your comment below makes perfectly clear that you were in fact criticizing them for eating there, so why try to back away now. Own it, brother!

          • BBMS

            I was eating there too! Spicy Chicken Sandwich for Jesus!

      • SteveP

        Perhaps they’re just a couple of atheists who enjoy chicken?

        • BBMS

          Could be, I was not making a comment about their orientation or beliefs. Just about the business that they chose to patronize.

          • Quoth the Raven

            Oh, I see. They are allowed by you to eat, but only at restaurants approved by you.

          • BBMS

            Wow, take a chill pill. This place is awful surly.

      • JohnB

        They were the Molotov cocktail deterrent squad.

        • Aaron

          Yeah, BBMS totally blew the lede. Someone patronized a Ballston Common Mall business after 5pm. Why didn’t this rate a story in and of itself?

          • Pentagonian

            Especially when Ballston’s food court is already Arlington’s de facto homeless shelter.

    • drax

      So there was some empty lot space available there that they failed to buy up? Or you’re saying they should tear down the building and build a parking lot for the police?

      • Buck Futter

        Im saying the priorities of the County government are out of whack. Time, effort, and money spent on the homeless shelter would have been better spent on solving the parking issue on the same block. As usual the board members work on their pet projects instead of what the community asks of them.

        • drax

          How exactly should they solve the parking issue? And how much money should they spend on it? What other functions or projects do you think they should abandon until they solve that one?

          • xard

            great problem solver. oh, it’s the non-problem solver, so we should not expect anything worthwhile.

          • Josh S

            You’re talking to someone who calls themselves “Buck Futter.” What are the odds that they have anything worthwhile to say?

          • Buck Futter

            I think they could put a parking structure where the surface lot is in courthouse, and maybe tie in some retail with it. It would serve everyone from cops to defendants to citizens to visitors. How much money should be spent on it? How about less than the $100mil spent on the pool and homeless shelter. Im sure if you poll the residents and prop/biz owners, you know, the ones that fund everything, they would prefer a parking garage to a homeless shelter. Im a courthouse home owner by the way, so I am a member of the community. And since you asked, I think building any new parks should be put on hold until the budget shortfall is addressed. Now I’ll wait for the death threats to roll in….

          • Question

            By Courthouse “home owner” do you mean you are currently incarcerated in the jail there? Because your level of discourse seems on par.

          • drax

            A parking garage? No thanks. This county is not in the business of encouraging more driving, and that’s a good thing. Better to spend it on ways to keep us from needing cars in the first place.

            You go right ahead and do your little poll if you want.

        • CourthouseChris

          By “community” do you mean yourself? Because as a member of the community I’m more concerned about our homeless issue than your petty parking whinings.

          • Community Member

            I’m a community member too. And I think parks are great. Fabulous asset offered by Arlington. Let me guess, we should stop building new schools too, because there is a parking problem next to the police station?

    • Mitt Romney

      Police cars are people, my friend!

    • Konis

      They have way more than 10 spots.

  • DarkHeart

    That store is nowhere near Highland. The shoe place at Highland and Washington does good work as well.

  • fire hydrant

    I am the fire hydrant that was across the building from the fire last night. As you can see by the photo link above a police car was parked in front of me. You can also see that there is a kink in the fire house….this is a huge safety concern for firefighters working inside the structure. This is not an adequate water supply for firefighters working on the fire ground. I do know that if this were an evolution in the fire academy the driver would have FAILED b/c of the kink….this limits the water SIGNIFICANTLY…..

    please email the chief of police, because YOU citizens would have gotten a nice fat fine/ticket…..AND most firefighter will break your window, put the hose through the window and continue on with their job

    here is his email address: [email protected]


  • Konis

    Actually they have more than 10 spots. They have about 10 spots directly in front of the police department. About 5 parking spots on the other side of courthouse road and about 10-15 spots in a lot over on that side. They also added about 5 spots on Courthouse Road that used to be meter parking. They also have parking on Troy St. Seems like plenty for on duty police officers. The problem I have noticed is police vehicles just sitting on the street for days at a time.

  • Daughter

    This shop belongs to my parents! I’m thankful to the people who have offered their prayers to help us recover from this! Thank you and I hope no else suffers an unexpected thing like this!


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