Arlington, VA

Around 500 homes and businesses are without water service tonight due to a water main break in Ashton Heights.

Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services says emergency repairs are underway at the intersection of N. Monroe Street and 7th Street N., about 3-4 blocks from the Virginia Square Metro station.

The repairs are not expected to be complete until daybreak.

Map via Google Maps

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(Updated at 1:30 p.m.) One person has died after a fire in Ashton Heights, near Ballston, Tuesday morning.

First responders were dispatched to a garden-style apartment on the 3800 block of 5th Street N at 7:44 a.m. today where they found an unconscious man in the living room, the Arlington County Fire Department said in a statement at 1:30 p.m. today.

“There was no fire evident when firefighters arrived, but the reporting party told firefighters it smelled like something was burning in the building,” said the department. “Firefighters on the back of the building identified the source of the smell as a first-floor apartment. They forced entry and found a small fire on the stove at the rear of the apartment that was quickly extinguished.”

The department said firefighters located the apartment’s smoke detector — but the early warning device lacked a battery.

By the time they found the man, the apartment had filled with smoke, department spokesman Capt. Ben O’Bryant told ARLnow at 11:15 a.m.

The man was rushed to a local hospital as medics performed CPR, according to O’Bryant. He was later pronounced dead.

Authorities are not yet releasing the man’s name, as they work to notify next of kin. He was only identified as an adult male.

As is standard for a fatal fire, the fire marshal’s office and Arlington County Police are jointly investigating the cause of the fire and the man’s death.

See the full department press release below:

At 7:44 a.m. on Tue., June 11, firefighters from the Arlington County Fire Department and Ft. Myer Fire Department, and officers from the Arlington County Police Department, were dispatched for a possible structure fire at a two-story apartment building in the 3800 block of Fifth Street North.

There was no fire evident when firefighters arrived, but the reporting party told firefighters it smelled like something was burning in the building. Firefighters on the back of the building identified the source of the smell as a first-floor apartment. They forced entry and found a small fire on the stove at the rear of the apartment that was quickly extinguished.

Upon searching the residence, firefighters located an unconscious adult male in the living room. The occupant was immediately removed from the apartment and resuscitative efforts initiated by Fire/EMS personnel. Responders continued to treat the patient en route to the hospital where the patient was later pronounced deceased.

The fire was contained to the room of origin and did not affect any other residences in the building. There was a smoke detector installed in the apartment, but it did not contain a battery.

Investigators from ACFD Fire Prevention Office and ACPD responded and are working collaboratively to investigate the fire. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

The identity of the deceased is being withheld pending notification of next of kin. The cause of death will be determined by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. No further information is available at this time.

Photo via ACFD/Twitter

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Morning Notes

Christmas Closures in Arlington — “Arlington County Government offices, courts and libraries will be closed on Mon., Dec. 24 and Tue., Dec. 25, 2018, for Christmas and on Tue., Jan. 1, 2019, for New Year’s Day. Courts will also be closed on Dec. 31, 2018, and libraries will close at 5 p.m. on Dec. 31.” [Arlington County]

Low-Income Workers Finding Metro Alternatives — “As Metro fares have risen, hours for train service have been cut and gentrification has made it more difficult for low-income workers to live near rail stations, workers making lower wages in Washington and in Arlington have become less likely to commute by transit… down 5 percent from the previous five years.” [Washington Post]

Arlington, Alexandria Firefighters Learning Yoga — “It’s a revolutionary training course helping firefighters cope [with] stress & sleep deprivation. One firefighter who was at the Pentagon on 9/11 says it helps him deal [with] the memory of that day.” [NBC Washington, Twitter]

Rain, Flood Watch Continues — “The Flood Watch continues through this afternoon. Unseasonably warm today with showers and perhaps an isolated afternoon/evening thunderstorm.” [Twitter]

Holiday Wrapping Paper Alternatives — Local designer Beth Singer, whose firm designed the ARLnow logo, has penned a new blog post just in time for the holidays: “Five Reasons I Will Never Buy Wrapping Paper Again.” [Beth Singer Design]

Eclectic Estate Sale Near Clarendon — “Looking for a one-of-a-kind gift for that special person? Are you a collector of unusual paintings, furniture, or sculpture? A curious browser of all things uncommon and quirky? You won’t want to miss this special estate sale, this weekend in Ashton Heights.” [Team Cathell]

Nearby: Amazon’s Effect on Chirilagua — “Between Alexandria’s Del Ray neighborhood and the Crystal City neighborhood of Arlington is a swath of land home to a vibrant Hispanic community… For many Chirilagua residents, Amazon’s arrival threatens the end of the community they love, bringing increased housing costs, new residents and creeping gentrification.” [NBC Washington]

Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley

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Arlington firefighters extinguished an attic fire in Ashton Heights last night (Wednesday).

First responders were called to the scene of a blaze at 300 N. Oakland Street around 7 p.m. yesterday. They were able to extinguish it soon afterward.

Firefighters say no one was injured as a result of the blaze.

The house fire was one of two that first responders had to extinguish last night.

Photo via @ArlingtonVaFD

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Arlington County Police are asking for the public’s help in tracking down a suspect in an attempted abduction on Sunday.

Police say a man tried to pull a woman into his vehicle on the 600 block of N. Oxford Street, near Ballston, on Sunday afternoon. The woman was able to break free and run away. Police were called and searched for the suspect, but were unable to find him.

ACPD is now hoping a description of the suspect and his vehicle, below, can turn up some leads.

At approximately 2:32 p.m. on April 1, police were dispatched to the report of an assault that just occurred in the 600 block of N. Oxford Street. Upon arrival, it was determined that the female victim was walking in the area when she passed an unknown male suspect. The male suspect called out to the victim and when she didn’t respond, he grabbed her from behind and attempted to pull her towards his vehicle. The victim was able to break free from the suspect and run away, however, the suspect continued to watch the victim from his vehicle until she entered her residence. The victim did not require medical treatment. The suspect fled the area prior to police arrival. Arriving officers canvased the area and a lookout was broadcast with negative results.

The suspect is described as a black male, with short dreads, possibly braids, with some orange, approximately 6’0, wearing a black shirt, light gray zip up hoodie and dark gray sweatpants. The suspect’s vehicle is described as an older, possibly late 1990’s or early 2000’s, model pick-up truck that was dark blue or black in color and looked “beat-up.”

Police have increased patrols in the area. Anyone with information on the identity of this suspect or details surrounding this incident is asked to contact Detective G. Sloan of the Arlington County Police Department’s Special Victim’s Unit at 703.228.4198 or at [email protected] To report information anonymously, contact the Arlington County Crime Solvers at 866.411.TIPS (8477).

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Morning Notes

ACFD Responds to Overturned Truck — Rescue crews responded to the intersection of George Mason Drive and 27th Street N., in the Yorktown neighborhood, just before 6:30 last night for a crash involving an overturned vehicle. At least two vehicles, including a minivan, and a pickup truck that overturned, were involved. [Twitter]

Apartment Fire in Ashton Heights — Firefighters quickly extinguished a small fire in the storage room of an apartment building in Ashton Heights yesterday afternoon. The fire happened on the 500 block of N. Piedmont Street and was “kept small by sprinklers.” [Twitter]

I-66 Tolls Not as Bad as You Might Think — According to VDOT, tolls on the first day of HOT lanes on I-66 were, on average, not too bad: “The average round-trip toll price was $14.50, with the average morning toll paid of $10.70 and average afternoon toll paid of $3.80. This average toll rate is lower than the estimated average toll rate of $17.00 round-trip discussed in 2015.” Also, Friday morning’s tolls were lower than those of previous days. [VDOT, Washington Post]

Kaspersky Closes Arlington Office — Russian cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Labs has closed its government sales office in Arlington as a result of the government banning use of Kaspersky antivirus software on federal computers. The company “came under tough US scrutiny after US officials became concerned about the company’s links to the Russian government.” [Buzzfeed]

Flickr pool photo by Michael Coffman

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(Updated at 4:30 p.m.) More than 2,000 Dominion customers are without power in the Ballston area this Election Day afternoon.

The outage was first reported just before 3:45 p.m. Some 2,063 Dominion customers in Ballston, Virginia Square and Ashton Heights are without electricity.

Police are also reporting traffic signals to be dark at the busy intersection of Wilson Blvd and N. Quincy Street, causing some traffic tie-ups. In a tweet, the police department advised drivers to treat all non-operating traffic signals as a four-way stop.

No word yet on what caused the outage. Dominion is listing a preliminary restoration estimate of 8-11 p.m.

https://twitter.com/ArlingtonVaPD/status/928001587443847168

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Halloween is tomorrow (Tuesday), and as in previous years, some Arlington County residents have gone all-out decorating their houses.

On just a small stretch of N. Jackson Street in the Ashton Heights neighborhood, some houses were covered in skeletons, gravestones, ghosts and other scary things.

Arlington does not designate a time for trick-or-treating, but tradition indicates parents will bring their costumed kids through the neighborhoods around sunset on Halloween — which is expected around 6 p.m. — and knock on doors until 8 or 9 p.m.

Temperatures should be on the cool side that day, with highs likely to reach only around 60 degrees.

Here are some tips for planning your trick-or-treat trip:

  • Children should be accompanied by an adult.
  • Choose a neighborhood or street you’re familiar with or is known for getting in the spirit.
  • Houses with the outside lights are the ones expecting and ready for trick-or-treaters.
  • Expect the older, non-costumed crowds later in the evening.
  • If you’re passing out treats, turn the outside lights off when you run out.

Ambassadors for Arlington PAL (Predictable, Alert, Lawful) will be out and about on of N. Jackson Street on Tuesday night for an outreach event. They will be handing out bike lights, reflective vests and other goodies to help encourage everyone to be safe.

A number of Halloween-themed events are taking place over the next few days, including the Seventh Annual Spooky Paws Dog Walk and Fall-O-Ween, both at Market Common in Clarendon.

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One person is in critical condition after a house fire in Ashton Heights early this morning.

The fire broke out around 1 a.m. on the 500 block of N. Ivy Street. By the time firefighters arrived, the front of the house was already fully engulfed in flames.

Two men who lived in the house made it out safely. A third man was “quickly located and rescued” and transported “to a burn center in critical condition,” according to the Arlington County Fire Department.

No firefighters were injured. The cause of the blaze is now under investigation.

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Homeowners could be notified in future tax assessments if their property is subject to any special circumstances that would prevent tearing down and rebuilding their house without County Board approval.

Such special circumstances would include homes on so-called pipe-stem lots, which have a narrow “stem” that runs from the street and does not meet requirements for minimum lot width, and in Resource Protection Areas, which help protect environmentally sensitive lands near streams.

If homes are subject to those circumstances, anyone wishing to tear down the current house and build a new one on the same property must go to the Arlington County Board for approval. Projects not hindered by such issues are permitted by right under zoning rules, so long as the new home continues to conform.

Board member Libby Garvey said she has spoken to County Manager Mark Schwartz about including a note to property owners in their tax assessments, which are mailed each year and outline the property tax bill due to the county.

“That’s one piece of paper that pretty much everyone in the county looks at,” Garvey told ARLnow last week. “So that seems like a really good place to put information like that with an asterisk or note, but we have to see if we can actually do that.”

Garvey and colleague John Vihstadt suggested the change at the July 15 County Board meeting, after a plan to build a new home in Ashton Heights ran into difficulties in June because of its location on a pipe-stem lot. The family that owns the N. Kenmore Street property did not realize it would require special approval to build a new house, a costly process in terms of time and expense.

After community meetings and some modifications to the proposed new house between June and July’s meetings, the Board unanimously approved the plan. Vihstadt said the county must make such issues more understandable for county residents, including on the designated web page for pipe-stem lots, which he said must be “a better information source.”

“Despite the happy ending, it would have been much simpler had the family known from the start that they faced this extra challenge,” Garvey said last week in an email to constituents. “We need to find a simple way for residents to know when their current or potential homes have some special situation that could affect their ability to build.”

Schwartz said at the July 15 meeting that while the county is committed to simplifying its permitting process, he warned that applicants must also do the necessary leg-work for such projects.

“I think people need to be aware there is still a requirement on their part to do their due diligence,” he said. “If they were to somehow rely on a notation on a website from us, it’s hard to believe but sometimes we make mistakes, and due diligence is required on the part of the applicant to do their research through the appropriate legal means.”

County Attorney Steve MacIsaac agreed, and noted that from a legal standpoint, the county can only help in so many ways.

“It’s incumbent on anyone who’s buying anything to be sure they know what they’re buying,” he said. “The ‘buyer beware’ phrase definitely applies to land, and you’ve got to know what you can do with it before you buy it.”

Image via county presentation

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Neighborhoods across the county are getting ready for Neighborhood Day, set to take place Saturday and feature a wide range of events and activities.

The day looks to bring together neighbors to strengthen bonds on blocks and across the county.

This year’s events are:

Jennie Dean Park Historical Markers Unveiling Ceremony
At noon, the park’s new historical markers will be unveiled, followed by a tour  of Arlington Food Assistance Center’s new office at 2708 S Nelson Street.

Seventh Annual Turtle Trot 5K Race
A chip-timed 5K race at Bluemont Park on a certified course. The race begins at 10 a.m.

International Migratory Bird Day Festival
From 9-11 a.m., celebrate International Migratory Bird Day by learning about migratory birds such as hummingbirds and osprey with hands-on activities, games, crafts, bird walks and more. Meet at Lacey Woods Park Picnic Shelter, 1200 N. George Mason Drive.

Lee Highway Alliance Events
The Lee Highway Alliance is hosting three events to celebrate at Woodstock Park, Big Walnut Park and Langston-Brown Community Center.

Tuckahoe Home and Garden Tour
The self-guided Tuckahoe Home & Garden Tour showcases recently renovated Arlington homes that solve common space and design challenges through creative remodeling.

Fairlington Home and Garden Tour
Tour a variety of renovated homes and gardens in Fairlington Village. Tickets are $10 each and can be purchased in advance or on the day.

Remove Invasive Plants
Increase native species diversity by helping with the return of ferns and wildflowers, and the animals that depend on them, in areas once covered in destructive invasive plants. The Gulf Branch Nature Center will host the event from 2-4 p.m.

Zumbathon
Join Enrique and special guest Mimi in a two-hour zumbathon from noon-2 p.m. at Penrose Square.

Tara-Leeway Heights Community Day
From 1-3 p.m. at Big Walnut Park, the Tara-Leeway Heights community will host an event complete with food vendors, games and more.

LBCCA Celebration and Movie Night Series Kick-Off
The Long Branch Creek Civic Association will bring the community together to celebrate from 5-9 p.m. at Troy Park. The event will include a moon bounce, games and activities, potluck dinner, snacks, beverages and an outdoor movie screening.

Ashton Heights Neighborhood Yard Sale
From 8 a.m.-noon, visit the Ashton Heights neighborhood for a community-wide yard sale.

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