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Here’s the Story Behind ACFD’s Snow-Shoveling T-Rex

As the snow piled up on Saturday, a video from the Arlington County Fire Department took off.

The video, tweeted out by the fire department around noon that day, showed a T-Rex clearing clearing snow from around a fire hydrant. The message was clear: If a predatory dinosaur with useless little arms can shovel snow, so can you.

But here’s a secret: that wasn’t a real T-Rex. And the video wasn’t filmed around here.

“The actual video was not filmed in Arlington,” said Jamie Jill, the Arlington firefighter who originally shared the clip. “It was at my sister’s home in Bethesda.”

And it was Jill’s nine-year-old niece Janelle who played the role of the “civically minded” lizard, he added.

“When she first went out in the suit, there were neighbors out shoveling their cars and everyone started laughing and taking pictures,” Jill said. “She actually didn’t want to do it because she was embarrassed. I had to bribe her with a present.”

Janelle wasn’t as embarrassed when she found out she made the news, Jill said.

“When I showed her the news reports, she said she was going to tell everyone at school,” he added.

Will we see more of the tiny T-Rex in the future? That all depends on whether Janelle will don the dinosaur suit again, Jill said. And if she won’t, he added that he “might have to get the fire department to purchase one.”

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