On Aug. 12, 2022, Arlington police officers were among the first to respond to the devastating crash and fire at Ireland’s Four Courts.
Three ACPD personnel — Officer Whisner, Corporal O’Daniel and Corporal Playford — were just recognized for their heroism.
“Without hesitation, the officers entered the building, assisted with removing patrons, carried the injured to safety and provided emergency medical assistance,” Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman Ashley Savage tells ARLnow.
Whisner has served with the department for 2.5 years and Playford for 5 years, while O’Daniel has more than 24 years of law enforcement experience in Arlington, across the Sheriff’s Office and police department. They were honored for their bravery, for saving the lives of four critically injured patients and for preventing additional injuries during an annual Arlington County Fire Department award ceremony on Sunday.
“Your prompt response, quick decision-making, and selfless act of courage undoubtedly made a meaningful difference during this complex incident,” Arlington County Fire Chief David Povlitz told the officers, reading from a letter of commendation later provided to ARLnow.
“The collaboration between our departments was seamless, and your efforts in evacuating the building and removing patients were essential to the rescue operations,” he continued.
Firefighters on-scene were also lauded for evacuating the building, triaging patients, quickly extinguishing the raging fire, treating patients on-scene and transporting patients with life-threatening injuries to trauma centers, ACFD spokesman Capt. Nate Hiner tells ARLnow.
“Seamless collaboration with ACPD played a significant role in saving the lives of the critically injured patients and preventing additional injuries,” Hiner said.
The pub-goers who suffered the most serious, potentially life-threatening injuries were released from the hospital after about a month. The Uber driver who slammed into the pub, after an apparent medical emergency, did not face criminal charges.
The units who responded to the crash and fire were not the only first responders honored last week for saving lives. Last summer, there were two other rescues for which fire crews received accolades.
On June 25, 2022, Hiner said, 10 units responded to a “challenging trench rescue incident” in which a worker was trapped up to his shoulders in heavy clay in a collapsed trench at the rear of a house near Wakefield High School.
“The worker was in distress and having trouble breathing,” Hiner said. “Personnel collaborated to develop patient care and extrication plans, which they efficiently executed despite the difficult conditions and extreme heat. Crews worked for 75 minutes to safely remove the patient from the trench while providing ongoing medical care.”
Once the man was freed from the clay, he was rushed to the hospital and later discharged, making a full recovery.
Beyer Wins 8th District Nomination — Updated at 9:50 a.m. — “Rep. Don Beyer, a Democrat, has fended off a primary challenge from Victoria Virasingh in the 8th Congressional District. Beyer will face Republican Karina Lipsman, who won a Republican convention last month… With 177 precincts of 182 reporting, Beyer leads, 77.82% to 22.18%.” [WTOP, Fox 5]
Statement from Beyer — “I am grateful to voters in Northern Virginia for again making me their Democratic nominee to represent Virginia’s 8th District… This is a challenging moment for the Democratic Party, and I look forward to throwing myself into that fight and making the case for equality, shared prosperity, and progress.” [Twitter]
Singing Challenger’s Praises — From Commonwealth’s Attorney Parisa Dehghani-Tafti: “Thank you to @Victoria4VA for running and raising important issues in our community. It’s never easy to step into the arena and, win or lose, we should all be grateful to those who do. I am sure we have not heard the last of Victoria!” [Twitter]
Man Drowns in Four Mile Run — “No foul play is suspected in the drowning death of a 52-year-old man in Four Mile Run, according to Alexandria Police. Police were called around 2 p.m. on Monday, June 20. Rescuers found the man in the stream near the 3900 block of Richmond Highway.” [ALXnow]
Neighbors Want Public Garage — “County, regional and state officials descended on Shirlington Road on June 15, ceremonially kicking off construction of a much-awaited and oft-debated maintenance facility for the Arlington Transit (ART) bus fleet… But the proposal still calls for using a parking garage on the parcel exclusively for staff use. ‘Given local parking challenges, a little creative thinking would open sections of the garage for public use, too,’ Stombler said.” [Sun Gazette]
Acquisition for Arlington Company — “Leonardo DRS Inc., the Arlington subsidiary of Italian defense and space contractor Leonardo SpA, said Tuesday it has agreed to merge with Israel’s Rada Electronic Industries Ltd. in an all-stock deal that will create a new public company.” [Washington Business Journal]
Storms Possible Today — From the Capital Weather Gang: “Heads-up for Wednesday afternoon + evening: HEAVY RAIN threat for parts of region and possibility of flooding. * Storms — possibly numerous — between 3 and 10p * It won’t rain the whole time but some areas could see multiple bouts of heavy rain — evening may be busiest.” [Twitter]
It’s Wednesday — Rain and storms in the evening and overnight. High of 86 and low of 69. Sunrise at 5:45 am and sunset at 8:39 pm. [Weather.gov]
Structure Fire Near Ballston — “Units located a detached structure on fire behind a house with minor extension to the house. The fire was quickly extinguished with no reports of injuries to firefighters or civilians. The fire remains under investigation by the Fire Marshal’s Office.” [Twitter, Twitter]
Plane Runs Off DCA Runway — “A Frontier Airlines plane slid off the end of the runway at Reagan National Airport Friday night. Flight 538 from Denver was arriving at the airport at about 10:30 p.m. when the incident happened, Micah Lillard of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority said.” [WTOP]
Apparent Drowning in Potomac — “Several agencies said they called off a search for a swimmer in the Potomac River near Fletcher’s Boathouse Sunday. D.C. Fire and EMS called the situation an apparent drowning… Shortly after 3 p.m., a witness reported seeing a person try to swim the river from the Virginia side and not resurface, the fire department said. D.C. Police fire boats and units from the Harbor station, Arlington Fire Department boats and a Maryland State Police helicopter were assisting in the search.” [NBC 4, Twitter]
Arlington Ridge Water Work — From the Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services: “Monday night – Tuesday morning: Water main maintenance work near S Arlington Ridge Road/Long Branch Creek could cause temporary low water pressure or service outages for nearby customers, 8pm to 8am.” [Twitter]
Sheriff Supports New Police Chief — From Arlington County Sheriff Beth Arthur: “Today, more than ever, police chiefs must commit to the principles of trust, accountability and transparency. I believe Andy [Penn] has demonstrated leadership in each of these areas and I look forward serving the Arlington community alongside him in his new role.” [Arlington County]
Mixed-Use Tower in Ballston for Sale — “The owners of Ballston’s tallest building are exploring its sale. Brandywine Realty Trust (NYSE: BDN) and the Shooshan Co., the developers behind 4040 Wilson Blvd., the final phase of the larger Liberty Center project, have put the $217 million tower on the market. The 23-story, 250-foot-tall building, completed last year, includes 225,000 square feet of office on the lower 10 floors topped by 250 apartments.” [Washington Business Journal]
Beyer Supports Fusion Power Research — “”If we do not pursue fusion energy, others will, and U.S. economic interests and influence will diminish as a result,” writes @RepDonBeyer in @sciam, arguing this energy tech can help the climate emergency and create #trillions of $$$ in economic growth.” [Twitter, Scientific American]
Newspaper Editor Attacked by Cicadas — From Sun Gazette Editor Scott McCaffrey’s blog: “The cicadas largely have left me alone, although two did get on my pants over the weekend and surreptitiously made it into Casa de Scotty… I gently removed those buggies and deposited them back outside so they could continue their search for love in what little time they have left on this earth. But yesterday, taking a midday walk around Falls Church, a more aggressive cicada flew right into the back of my shirt and started wriggling his (or her) way deeper in.” [Sun Gazette]
Rent Protest Today — Starting at the shopping center parking lot at 5001 Columbia Pike, a caravan of cars adorned with signs will travel to local apartment complexes to support “rent cancellation during this pandemic plus two months following the ability for community members to work and pay rent,” among other aims. The protest is being organized by La ColectiVA and other groups. [Facebook]
Animal Control Rescues Turtle from I-395 — “A few days ago, we got a call about a turtle very close to traffic on I-395. When Sgt Ballena arrived, he found a young snapping turtle who’s beak was fractured and bleeding. He took the turtle to Blue Ridge Wildlife Center, who will care for him until he can be released.” [Twitter]
Arlington Officers Injured During D.C. Protests — Despite an earlier comment by the police chief that no officers were injured, “a spokesperson for Arlington County Police told us, ‘one Arlington officer suffered a concussion and several others suffered bruises and abrasions.'” [WUSA 9]
Home Sales Downs, Prices Up — “May is usually one of the best months for housing sales, but the COVID-19 pandemic and a lack of listings sidelined many potential buyers. The D.C. area had its slowest May for sales in a decade. But more sellers stepped up from April and prices continue to rise year-over-year… The median price of what sold in Arlington County was $622,500, up 1.2% from last May.” [WTOP]
Could HQ2 Be Downsized? — Amazon prizes in-person interactions among employees, but there are still questions as to whether the company will proceed with the second phase of its 4+ million square foot permanent second headquarters in Pentagon City. [Washington Business Journal]
Orange Line Platform Work Moving Along — “Two weeks into the summer shutdown, construction activity is well underway at Vienna, Dunn Loring, West Falls Church and East Falls Church stations. So far, construction crews have focused on demolition work, including the removal of all tiles from the platforms, mezzanines and pedestrian bridges.” [WMATA]
Two Recent Drownings Near Chain Bridge — While D.C. Fire and EMS warns of dangerous waters near the Chain Bridge, the department said another grim discovery was made Thursday. “There have been 2 drownings in the past 3 weeks near Chain Bridge and a body was recovered today,” DCFEMS said. [Twitter]
A band of brothers from Arlington saved a five-year-old girl from drowning this week during a trip to Ireland.
On Monday, three brothers — Walter Butler (21), Eoghan Butler (18), Declan Butler (18) — were enjoying a rare sunny Dublin day at a beach with their brother-in-law Alex Thomson (24) when they heard someone crying for help. The group leaped into action after spotting a young girl on an pink inflatable floaty, who was being pulled away by the ocean current.
The group was able to rescue the girl and carry her back to safety, as first reported by Ireland’s Evening Herald.
The boys’ mother, Meagan Cummings, told ARLnow that her children were visiting Ireland to bury their grandfather, who was born there and emigrated to the United States years ago. But there was also something very special about the fateful day of the rescue.
“Their grandfather, when he lived in Ireland many years ago, got on a ship to join the United States Navy. When he was coming over there was a telegram waiting for him that said his younger brother had drowned,” said Cummings. “The anniversary of his brother drowning was Monday.”
Cummings said the drowning death had made her and her parents fearful of water. That was one the reasons she encouraged her six children to learn to be good swimmers. The three Butler boys swam with the Overlee swim team for several years, and Walter and his sister were also on the Washington-Lee High School swim team.
“Only for them my daughter wouldn’t be here today,” said the father of the six-year-old girl, in an interview with the Irish Times. The man said he was unable to reach her from the shore, and could only watch as the current dragged the girl away and led her to lose her grip on the floaty she was clinging to.
“You could see the brave little girl fighting for her life, her head bobbing under and breaking the surface, she clearly could not swim,” Walter told the newspaper. “She was doing everything she could to stay alive.”
Three of the brothers swam for twenty minutes — almost a mile in total — to reach the girl. They took turns carrying her as they made their way back to the shore. Eoghan told the Irish news site the Independent that the girl was a “nervous wreck” and they calmed her by asking about her birthday and her favorite color.
Walter currently serves in the United States Coast Guard as a Health Services Technician. His mother said he put his training to use, assembling a plan for his three brothers to swim the distance and retrieve the girl while he met them halfway, to save his strength in case he needed to administer first aid.
— Independent.ie (@Independent_ie) July 23, 2019
Alex, who is married to the brothers’ sister Juliana, told the Independent that he thought of his own growing family during the rescue.
“The main thing I was thinking about was we couldn’t lose that little girl,” he said. “I’m expecting a daughter in October, and was empathizing with the father’s fear.”
Authorities reported the girl was taken to the hospital after the rescue and was treated for non-life-threatening injuries. Her father confirmed on Tuesday she was recovering back at home.
“The way I feel about it they were given a chance to rise to their best. And they did,” said Cummings, the boys’ mother. “And that just made me feel so proud.”
The incident happened just after 5:00 p.m., at the private Dominion Hills Area Recreation Association pool at 6000 Wilson Blvd.
An 8 or 9 year old boy accidentally swallowed water while swimming and began struggling in the water, according to an Arlington County Fire Department spokesman. A lifeguard spotted the boy in distress and he was underwater by the time lifeguards reached him.
When the boy was pulled from the water, he had a pulse but was unconscious and not breathing, the spokesman said. Lifeguards performed rescue breathing and were eventually able to revive the boy, we’re told.
Paramedics arrived and transported the boy to Virginia Hospital Center for evaluation.
John Aldonis, the pool’s manager, declined to identify the lifeguards who saved the boy’s life but said they are local high school and college students.
“They did a great job,” Aldonis said. “They did everything correctly and followed the Red Cross protocols.”
Aldonis said this was the first time in recent memory that paramedics had to be called to the Dominion Hills pool for a life-threatening emergency.
Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick
Vincent Crapps, 24, is believed to have drowned after diving off cliffs on the Virginia side of the river. After an extended search and rescue effort, his body was found by Montgomery County (Md.) Police this afternoon.
Crapps was a member of the 3rd United States Infantry Regiment, better known as the “Old Guard.”
From a Montgomery County Police press release:
Detectives from the Montgomery County Police Major Crimes Division – Homicide and Sex Section are investigating a drowning that occurred on Saturday.
On Saturday, June 29, at approximately 5:30 p.m., Montgomery County Fire & Rescue received a call for a possible drowning of a 24-year-old male in the Potomac River near Bear Island. Montgomery County Fire & Rescue began a rescue mission. Montgomery County Police search and rescue officers responded to the area to provide assistance on land.
Today, following an extended joint operation, Montgomery County Fire & Rescue recovered the victim’s body in the water at approximately 2:25 p.m. Montgomery County Police search and rescue officers were on scene during these recovery efforts. The victim was pronounced deceased at the scene.
Montgomery County Police detectives are leading the investigation into the victim’s death. Investigation has revealed that the victim was diving off the cliffs on the Virginia side of the river when his friends noticed him go under the water and not surface. His friends called 911.
The victim has been identified as Vincent Crapps of the 3d United States Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard), stationed at Fort Myer, Virginia.
Arlington Boy Drowns in Shenandoah — A 3-year-old Arlington boy drowned in a Shenandoah County creek over the weekend. The boy had been seen playing with other children about 200 yards downstream from where his body was found by a search and rescue team. His death has been ruled accidental. [NV Daily]
Jail Hosts Mother’s and Father’s Day Visits — Earlier this month, the Arlington County Detention Facility held a special event for the children of female inmates, in honor of Mother’s Day. Next month, the jail will host a similar event for the children of men for Father’s Day. [Sun Gazette]
Road Closures for Parade Near Shirlington — The westbound lanes of S. Four Mile Run Drive will be closed between Shirlington Road and Walter Reed Drive on Saturday for the Corso de Santa Cruz Parade. The closure is expected to be in place from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. [Arlington County]
Grand Opening for Bluemont Fitness Facility — Though it has been open for several months, Bluemont-based Phoenix Fitness (5130 Wilson Blvd) will celebrate its grand opening on Saturday with free food, classes and giveaways. [Phoenix Fitness]
Flickr pool photo by Alex
Three-Year-Old Boy Drowns Near Chain Bridge — The Arlington County Fire Department pulled the lifeless body of a 3-year-old boy from the Potomac River yesterday afternoon. He was pronounced dead at Virginia Hospital Center. The boy had been picnicking with his family near Chain Bridge when he somehow ended up in the water. More from TBD/ABC 7.
Alaska Plane Crash Survivor from Arlington Back in Va. — Friends and family were on hand at Dulles Airport to welcome Arlington resident Jim Morhard back to Virginia. The 54-year-old lobbyist is still recovering from injuries he sustained in the plane crash that killed former Alaska senator Ted Stevens. More from WUSA 9.
Students Will Have Option to Transfer from Certain Elementary Schools — After their neighborhood elementary schools failed to meet federal No Child Left Behind standards for two years in a row, parents will have the option of sending their kids to nearby schools with a better track record. More from the Sun Gazette.
An Arlington man drowned outside a riverside restaurant in Dumfries, Va. early Saturday morning.
Police were called to Tim’s Rivershore Restaurant at 1:32 a.m., after the man walked away from a group he was with and had not returned for at least half an hour, Prince William County police spokesman Jonathan Perok said.
Members of the department’s marine unit and dive team found the man’s body floating in the Potomac River near the restaurant, Perok said.
Police identified the victim as 74-year-old Shelton Carl Burstrom of Arlington.
An autopsy is scheduled to be performed this afternoon to determine the cause of death. Police do not suspect foul play.