(Updated at 10:10 a.m.) Firefighters battled a two-alarm blaze at a house in the Barcroft neighborhood this morning.
The fire on the 4600 block of 6th Street S. was reported shortly before 5:30 a.m. First arriving units reported heavy smoke and flames coming from the roof of a two-story home.
It took firefighters from several local jurisdictions about an hour to fully extinguish the blaze, which appeared to have mostly burned the top floor or attic area.
“Crews made an initial interior attack on the fire but were pulled out due to deteriorating conditions,” Arlington County Fire Department spokesman Capt. Nate Hiner tells ARLnow. “After attacking the fire from the exterior, units were able to enter the structure again to put out the remainder of the fire. The bulk of the fire was extinguished in 40 minutes.”
“A second alarm was requested to bring this fire under control,” Hiner noted. “Roughly 75 firefighters responded to the scene, and ACFD was assisted by the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department as well as the City of Alexandria Fire Department.”
No injuries were reported.
One nearby resident said the home was unoccupied at the time. Another told ARLnow that they could smell smoke from the blaze from Columbia Pike.
The cause of the fire is now under investigation.
“The Fire Prevention Office remains at the scene to investigate the cause and origin,” said Hiner.
#Final: Fire is out, a majority of the crews are being placed in service. Fire Prevention Office will remain on scene to conduct their cause and origin investigation. No injuries reported from this 2 alarm fire. pic.twitter.com/tavvEIQrxz
— Arlington Fire & EMS (@ArlingtonVaFD) June 29, 2022
Woke up to smoke and fire sirens at dawn this morning, a house in Arlington VA Barcroft neighborhood was ablaze. It was unoccupied, owners had just moved to a new house down 6th St. @ARLnowDOTcom #arlingtonva pic.twitter.com/samvZdMhOO
— Dennis Dimick (@ddimick) June 29, 2022
(Updated at 11:20 a.m.) A progressive group says an Amazon- and county-funded plan to keep the Barcroft Apartments affordable will actually displace low-income residents.
The more than $300 million purchase of the 60-acre, 1,334-unit complex along Columbia Pike will take what are currently aging but affordable market-rate apartments and renovate or reconstruct them, while converting them to dedicated affordable units.
The hasty and hefty purchase happened, county officials said, in response to the possibility that the complex could be redeveloped without affordability protections. That is what happened to the nearby Columbia Gardens Apartments, which are being torn down to make way for townhouses.
But the group Asian American Pacific Islander Civic Engagement Collaborative (ACE), an offshoot of Alexandria-based New Virginia Majority, says the Barcroft Apartments plan is flawed and will actually displace some long-time residents. The rent they are currently paying, according to rates listed online, is actually lower than the dedicated affordable rates that the rents could eventually rise to.
ACE is holding a rally this afternoon at Doctor’s Run Park, across the street from the apartments in the Douglas Park neighborhood, to speak out against what it says is the “predicted displacement of Arlington tenants within next year in [the] highly diverse Barcroft Apartments.”
From a press release:
On May 12, 2022 at 4 p.m., Asian American Pacific Islander Civic Engagement Collaborative (ACE) organizers and tenants from Barcroft Apartments will hold a press conference and rally at Doctor’s Run Park, 1301 S. George Mason Drive. During the press conference, tenants will share their experiences trying to prepare for skyrocketing rental costs, and organizers will reveal the results of a recently completed survey conducted by organizers and Marymount University predicting tenant displacement of low-income residents.
Barcroft Apartments provides a home to one of the most culturally-diverse neighborhoods in the area, and was recently sold to new owners Jair Lynch Real Estate Partners. The current agreement involving Arlington County, Jair Lynch Real Estate Partner, and Amazon’s Housing Equity Fund risks displacing long time tenants in the upcoming years because their rental rates will be increased by 3% every year up to 60% of the Area Median Income (AMI) starting next year. A majority of the long-time tenants that were surveyed by ACE make below 60% AMI which also increased this year as well.
Tefera Negash, a five year tenant, said, “This was the last place in this area that was in our budget. This will bring too much inconvenience in our life on top of the economic difficulties we are experiencing recently.”
Nupur Chowdhury, community organizer for ACE said, “I’m a Bangladeshi-American living here in Arlington. My family and I have lived in Barcroft for 17 years. As someone who is living and active in this community, I am afraid that the scheduled rent increases year after year will make it too expensive for our diverse community to continue living here.”
Asked about the rally, Arlington County Housing Director Anne Venezia said she and Jair Lynch, the developer that is buying the complex with the loans from Amazon and Arlington, have been in touch with ACE.
“No Barcroft residents are being displaced,” Venezia asserted.
She issued the following statement in response to inquiries from ARLnow.
The Jair Lynch team and I have been working one-on-one with ACE since early this year. Last week we spoke with them directly to talk about their survey, the results, and their concerns. Our conversations have been collegial and constructive. We continue to share that no Barcroft residents are being displaced. Starting in 2023, rents may increase a maximum of 3% annually, up to the 60% AMI rent limit. The County remains committed to working with residents who need financial assistance. Last Friday and again this Tuesday, I followed up with additional information for families facing financial hardship, including a handout in 11 different languages about existing County programs that they could share with any residents. We are working to connect struggling families with rental resources, such as housing grants, including the potential for an information event about County resources at the property. County staff continues to be available to ACE and all Barcroft residents and to provide information and resources as needed. The Arlington Department of Human Services team is also available to help Barcroft residents with assistance for food, rent, and other services, regardless of immigration status. Residents can call 703-228-1300.
A representative with Jair Lynch echoed Venezia in saying that no residents will be displaced.
New Irish Pub Now Open in Pentagon City — “If your notion of an Irish pub is a static menu of fish n’ chips in a shamrock-decked bar, chef Cathal Armstrong wants to change that perception with Mattie and Eddie’s. The James Beard-anointed chef, who championed seasonal Irish cooking over 14 years at Alexandria’s Restaurant Eve, just opened the gastropub with a large outdoor patio in Pentagon City.” [Washingtonian]
Extended Power Outage in Barcroft — A driver crashed into a utility pole at S. Buchanan Street and 6th Street S. in the Barcroft neighborhood Sunday, initially knocking out power to thousands. Hundreds of homes were still in the dark until early this morning. [Twitter]
Candidate Comes Out Swinging At Dem Meeting — “[Chanda] Choun, who is attempting to unseat sitting Democrat Takis Karantonis in a June primary, did not pull many punches in an April 7 kickoff speech before the Arlington County Democratic Committee rank-and-file. ‘Takis was not the best candidate to represent Arlington’ during a politically and racially charged era, Choun said… If elected, Choun said he would be an elected official who ‘goes beyond the platitudes and buzzwords’ to promote an aggressively left-leaning agenda. One example: Choun said he wanted the county to establish a ‘truth and reconciliation commission’ to focus on equity issues.” [Sun Gazette]
School Board Advances Budget Proposal — “The School Board adopted its FY 2022 Proposed Budget at its April 8 meeting. The proposed budget expenditures total $699,919,805. The School Board amended the Superintendent’s FY22 Revised Proposed Budget by reducing the budgeted expenditures by $6,796,056 and 35.00 FTE and replacing the 2% cost of living adjustment with Compensation Option 1. Compensation Option 1 provides different compensation models by employee scale to ensure that every employee in the school division receives a compensation increase.” [Arlington Public Schools]
Pentagon Police Officer Faces Murder Charges — “Takoma Park police have charged the off-duty Pentagon Force Protection Agency officer they say shot and killed two men Wednesday morning in Montgomery County, Maryland. The officer has also been charged for an alleged assault that happened last year. David Hall Dixon, of Takoma Park, has been charged with two counts of second-degree murder, two counts of use of a handgun in commission of a felony and reckless endangerment.” [WTOP]
Don’t Hang Up on 911 — From Arlington County: “Oops, did you call 911 by mistake? It’s OK, just stay on the line and tell the friendly dispatcher it was an accident. That way, they can confirm there’s no emergency… Otherwise, we’ll have to call you back, taking away a dispatcher who could help someone who needs it.” [Twitter]
(Updated at 5:20 p.m.) A wanted man fled from police on foot and caused a brief scare at an elementary school this morning.
The incident started around 7:30 a.m. in the Barcroft neighborhood, amid reports of a domestic dispute.
“At approximately 7:33 a.m. on April 6, police were dispatched to the 900 block of S. Buchanan Street for the report of a dispute between known individuals,” Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman Ashley Savage tells ARLnow. “During the course of the investigation, it was determined that one of the involved subjects was wanted by another jurisdiction.”
Police patrolling the area later located the man in the Green Valley neighborhood, where he led officers on a chase that ended near Drew Elementary School.
“Following a short foot pursuit, the subject was taken into custody,” Savage said.
Later, after an investigation, it was determined that the 19-year-old suspect had thrown a rock through the victim’s window. He is facing a local charge related to that, as well the warrant for his arrest from another jurisdiction.
A witness to the arrest said the man was arrested in a field near the school amid a large emergency response. An Arlington Public Schools spokesman confirmed to ARLnow that Drew Elementary was placed in “secure the school” mode — a step just short of a full lockdown — between 9:30-9:40 a.m. due to the incident.
Separately this morning, another suspect led police on another chase, a couple of blocks from the intersection of Columbia Pike and S. Glebe Road, after a report of a man trespassing at an under-construction property.
“At approximately 9:46 a.m. on April 6, police were dispatched to the 1100 block of S. Highland Street for the report of a trespassing,” Savage said. “Upon observing the arrival of the responding officer, the subject fled the scene on foot. Officers located the subject and following a short foot pursuit, he was taken into custody. The investigation determined the subject was related to a destruction of property incident reported yesterday at this location where the side mirrors of two vehicles were damaged.”
A 29-year-old man from Annandale was arrested and charged with Destruction of Property and Trespassing.
Columbia Pike Resident Goes Missing — “ACPD seeks the public’s assistance locating Ms. Amanda Aniston, last seen Dec. 12, 2020 in the 1200 blk of S. Courthouse Rd. She is described as a Black female, brown hair, brown eyes, approx. 5’9″, 140 lbs. She may be in need of medical services.” [ACPD]
Did False Report Lead to Police Encounter? — “The head of the Arlington NAACP, Julius D. Spain Sr… said he would seek a meeting with Arlington Commonwealth’s Attorney Parisa Dehghani-Tafti and ‘if someone needs to be charged with making a false report, so be it.’ Crutchfield said in his complaint that ‘the neighbor who called the police lied about me taking pictures of the military base nearby to trigger a police response.'” [Washington Post]
Early Voting ‘Here to Stay’ — “Arlington is likely to provide a number of satellite centers for early voting in the 2021 general election – but how many there will be, and where they will be located, remain open questions. ‘Early voting is here to stay,’ predicted county elections chief Gretchen Reinemeyer, briefing Electoral Board members during a Dec. 16 meeting.” [InsideNova]
County May Help With Caucuses — “Find yourself in need of holding an election? The Arlington County Electoral Board soon may be able to help. Board members voted 3-0 on Dec. 16 to move forward on a policy that would allow political parties and, potentially, other groups to rent equipment and use election-office personnel during their own elections… Those doing the renting also would have to reimburse the cost.” [InsideNova]
New Rosslyn Apartment to Be Temporary Hotel — “Penzance Cos. is bringing in a pop-up hotel startup to help fill a portion of its massive mixed-use project on the western side of Rosslyn. Kasa Living is looking to use 100 units at The Highlands at 1555 Wilson Blvd. as temporary hotel rooms, according to a new filing from Penzance with Arlington County planners. The fully furnished apartments will serve as short-term rentals offered up by Kasa for up to seven years.” [Washington Business Journal]
Christmas Eve Scare for Barcroft Residents — “Missile into occupied dwelling… 4600 block of 9th Street S. At approximately 3:56 p.m. on December 24, police were dispatched to the report of destruction of property. Upon arrival, it was determined that the victims were inside a residence when they heard a loud noise and observed an object had been thrown at a window, causing it to break.” [ACPD]
Without in-person school, play dates and activities, many kids have lost their primary sources of social interaction and exercise due to COVID-19.
But volunteers in Arlington say a new traffic garden, a space where kids can play and learn how to travel roads safely, could restore some of the lost opportunities for play.
“It was clear we needed new stuff for kids to do,” said Fionnuala Quinn, who makes and consults on traffic gardens. “This is a friendly, happy place for them at a time when a lot has been taken away from them.”
After getting approval from the Women’s Club of Arlington (700 S. Buchanan Street) in Barcroft to use their parking lot, a group of 10 bicycling enthusiasts, community members and engineers grabbed some chalk paint and duct tape and got to work. Three-and-a-half hours later, the parking lot was transformed into space with railroad crossings, crosswalks, streets and roundabouts that kids can walk, bike or skateboard along.
“It’s a bright spot in a tough time,” said Gillian Burgess, a cycling and walking advocate and former chair of the Arlington Bicycle Advisory Committee, who helped with the effort.
Families seem to enjoy it and kids find it intuitive, she said.
“It’s funny, parents will ask us how to use it, but kids just do it naturally,” she said.
The crew in Arlington is one of about 30 nationwide that have repurposed parking lots and constructed these temporary traffic gardens since the start of the pandemic, Quinn said.
“Once you start looking and thinking about this, you realize there is asphalt lying neglected everywhere,” she said. “As soon as you do it, small children appear.”
The original traffic gardens were built in the 1950s in Denmark and the Netherlands. They resembled miniature cities, with tiny buildings and kid-sized roads and traffic signs.
The trend made its way to the U.S., with a large concentration of them in Ohio, where they are called safety towns, Quinn said. She has catalogued about 300 installations in the U.S.
Quinn, who lives in Reston, left her engineering job to engineer and consult on traffic gardens full-time. She said the 50s-era gardens ertr amazing, but expensive to maintain and most kids only ended up going once during their childhood.
Her job is to make these gardens easier and cheaper to build and maintain so that they can be replicated on a smaller scale, more locally, and be more accessible to all kids.
She has helped with permanent installations at two Washington, D.C. schools, and spearheaded two in Alexandria and one in Fauquier County. They required months or years of planning and work.
But temporary pop-ups, including the one in Arlington, use little resources and take less time. Once people see how much kids love them, the pop-ups also advance the community conversation toward permanent versions, she said.
Back on site doing some touch up on the pop-up traffic garden at the Woman’s Club of Arlington parking lot – several families stopped by to check it out. Thumbs up from all the visitors #TrafficGardenProject #Design4Kids pic.twitter.com/dncd16BFH9
— Discover Traffic Gardens (@TrafficGardens) November 3, 2020
The Barcroft traffic garden will be in place for a few months. Burgess is working on getting the message out through schools and neighborhood email lists and has started looking for other locations in the county. She aims to add more gardens by this spring.
The group is working with the Arlington Safe Routes to School coordinator to apply for grants to fund permanent traffic gardens at Arlington schools.
With kids learning remotely, Safe Routes to School grants are going toward different educational initiatives, including traffic gardens, Burgess said. In the meantime, she and Safe Routes are also working with the school system to make walking and biking routes to school safer.
Photos courtesy Gillian Burgess
Euphoria, a flea market that has drawn huge crowds to Arlington’s normally quiet Barcroft neighborhood, went so viral on the social media app TikTok that it’s now on hold here while its founder figures out how to handle the newfound popularity.
The market was launched by Washington-Lee (now Washington-Liberty) High School graduate Fabricio Gamarra and features vintage sneakers, t-shirts and other carefully-curated items.
For four consecutive months, 20-year-old Gamarra got away with hosting Euphoria, which he describes as a “pop-up vintage market,” with his friend and business partner Chris Claure out of a parking lot on S. Buchanan Street in Barcroft. The market features Gamarra’s own vintage brand, Forbiidden Vintage, along with roughly a dozen local sellers selling everything from high-end streetwear to vintage sunglasses. And between the third and fourth event, he says, Euphoria’s popularity exploded.
“I woke up one morning to my friends texting me to check my phone, and I couldn’t believe it,” Gamarra said. “I thought, ‘Is this really happening?”
As it turns out, a friend of Claure who attended the Sept. 6 flea market posted about it on the popular short-form video app. The video has so far attracted more than 100,000 likes, in addition to thousands of comments like “Hold up Virginia? I’m going right now!” and “Finally something good in the DMV area.”
As of today, the video has more than 360,000 views.
Word caught on by the next Euphoria market, on Oct. 4. According to Gamarra, the line to enter stretched a mile long and people were lining up to enter all day. The crowd size and increased traffic also attracted the attention of the neighbors. Even though social distancing was in place and face masks were required, Gamarra says the Arlington County Police Department was alerted to the event.
“There are some safety issues we need to make sure are taken care of before we can have another market in Arlington, yeah,” Gamarra said. “We’re talking to the county to figure out what we can do. I’ve lived in Arlington since I was three and I believe it’s a great market to attract people from both Maryland, D.C., and Virginia. I want to make sure these events can continue here.”
A video of the October market, showing off the long lines and the collection of unique clothing, also went viral on TikTok. It has received nearly 40,000 likes since it was posted.
For now, Gamarra says the next market is tentatively scheduled for Nov. 15 in Silver Spring, Maryland, but he hopes to make it back to Arlington soon.
“Fingers are crossed we can do something bigger and better in Arlington, but of course, safety has to be the first priority,” he said.
(Updated at 1:55 p.m.) A man has died after a serious rollover crash in the Barcroft neighborhood last night.
The crash happened around 9 p.m. on the 4800 block of 8th Street S., a residential street that dead ends near the W&OD trail.
“At 9:07 p.m. ACFD was dispatched to the area of 4800 block of 8th Street S. for an accident with entrapment,” said Arlington County Fire Department spokesman Capt. Justin Tirelli. “Crews were advised by a bystander that a vehicle had left the roadway and entered the woods.”
“After a short search by ACFD and ACPD the vehicle was found in the woods near the W&OD trail, overturned with the male driver still inside,” Tirelli said. “Crews removed the driver and transported him to the hospital with life-threatening injuries.”
On Wednesday afternoon, Arlington County police said the man had died from his injuries. More from an ACPD press release, below.
The Arlington County Police Department’s Critical Accident Team is investigating a fatal single vehicle crash that occurred on the evening of July 7, 2020.
At approximately 9:01 p.m. on July 7, police were dispatched to the area of the Washington and Old Dominion Trail in the 4800 block of 8th Street S. for the report of a crash with injuries. The preliminary investigation indicates the driver lost control of the vehicle, struck a parked vehicle in the 4500 block of 8th Street S., and continued traveling, before overturning onto the trail.
Arriving officers and medics rendered aid to the driver, who was subsequently extricated from the vehicle by the Arlington County Fire Department. The driver of the vehicle, identified as Bolivar Cobos, 92, of Arlington, Va., was transported by medics to an area hospital with life threatening injuries. He later succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced deceased.
This crash remains under investigation and anyone with information related to this incident is asked to contact Detective T. Parsons of the Arlington County Police Department’s Critical Accident Team at 703-228-4172 or [email protected] To report information anonymously, contact the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).
— Arlington Fire (@ArlingtonVaFD) July 8, 2020
Map via Google Maps
Another series of vehicle break-ins was reported last week, as thieves continue to take advantage of unlocked car doors in Arlington neighborhoods.
The latest break-in series was discovered in the Barcroft neighborhood Thursday morning. Nine cars were tampered with and stolen from, police said in a crime report.
LARCENY FROM AUTO (series), 2020-05070018, 4400 block of block of 1st Street S. At approximately 6:08 a.m. on May 7, police were dispatched to the report of a larceny from auto. Upon arrival, it was determined that approximately nine unlocked vehicles were entered and items of value stolen. There are no suspect(s) description. The investigation is ongoing.
Other car break-ins have been reported by Arlington County Police but without further description, including the following from the Thursday crime report:
LARCENY FROM AUTO, 2020-05060004, 3600 block of N. Harrison Street
LARCENY FROM AUTO, 2020-05060151, 1000 block of 18th Street S.
A resident provided additional information about the N. Harrison Street incident, near Williamsburg Middle School, on a neighborhood listserv.
“Last night at about 12:15 AM, I caught a guy actively going through my truck interior,” the victim wrote. “The truck was parked on the street and he took off on a bicycle when I started yelling and approaching him from across the yard. I called the non-emergency police line to report it thinking it would just be another sheet in a file but they jumped all over it. Multiple units responded including a crime scene officer to dust for fingerprints and the police were canvassing the neighborhood within 10-15 minutes.”
Despite the response, no arrests were made.
Arlington County Police have, however, made several arrests in such cases over the past few months, amid a rash of hundreds of car break-ins since last summer. The prevalence of such crimes has prompted ACPD to launch a public information campaign urging residents to lock their doors at night and leave valuables out of plain sight.
Local groups including Mothers of North Arlington (MONA) and the Alcova Heights Community Association were left scrambling last week after Yahoo announced it would be shuttering its still-widely-used online messaging tool, Yahoo! Groups.
“This listserv was very valuable to the neighborhood,” said Mark Wigfield, the moderator for the Barcroft School & Civic League chat list (Bsclchat). “People [used it to] chat back and forth about hiring plumbers and carpenters, local issues, crime reports, ‘curb alerts’ for stuff they’re putting out on the curb for the taking, and more.”
As of today, some affected Arlington groups are steadily figuring out how to transition their organizations out of Yahoo and onto other platforms. Alcova Heights, for example, has already converted to using Google Groups.
Over the weekend, MONA board members unanimously voted to move their forums over to the email platform groups.io. MONA had used Yahoo! Groups since 2001 and has over 2,300 members.
“After a rigorous testing of groups.io by a special testing group we set up, we are confident and comfortable in our choice of the new, enhanced platform and feel this will be a change for the better,” said MONA President Mrinal Oberoi.
In 2014, MONA’s then-president resigned amid a backlash over transitioning the organization away from Yahoo! Groups.
Yahoo announced last week its plans to shut down its forums, giving its hundreds of thousands of members until Monday, October 28 — the original announcement said it would happen on October 21, but that date was later changed — to use the service. Users will then have until December 14 to access archived messages. Email functionality will remain, for now, but without attachments, archives and other features.
“I’m a little reluctant to let our archives disappear into the ether — I think [the] Bsclchat has been around for at least 20 years, so that’s a lot of history,” said Wigfield.
Across Arlington, social and community groups utilize listservs like Yahoo! Groups as a way to communicate and encourage discussions with residents and members. The message board functionality allows discussions to take place without a deluge of emails to subscribers.
A would-be robber walked up behind a man and struck him several times with a metal pipe around just after midnight this morning, police say.
The attack happened as the man was entering a residential building on the 900 block of S. Buchanan Street, in the Barcroft neighborhood near Columbia Pike.
The victim suffered non-life threatening injuries, police said, while the suspect — who tried but failed to steal items from the victim — fled the scene and remains at large.
More from an Arlington County Police Department crime report:
MALICIOUS WOUNDING, 2019-09190004, 900 block of S. Buchanan Street. At approximately 12:07 a.m. on September 19, police were dispatched to the report of an assault that had just occurred. Upon arrival, it was determined that the male victim was walking into a residential building when the suspect approached him from behind and struck him several times with a metal pole. The suspect attempted to steal the victim’s personal property, but the victim was able to push the suspect away. The suspect then fled the scene on foot. The victim was transported to an area hospital with non-life threatening injuries. A perimeter was established and a search of the area yielded negative results. The suspect is described as a black male, in his 30’s, 5’6″ tall with short black hair. He was wearing a dark colored shirt and beige shorts at the time of the incident. The investigation is ongoing.