Arlington Police HQ Evacuated Due to Bomb Threat — The Arlington County Police headquarters in Courthouse was evacuated for several hours Saturday night after police received an “automated phone call” that made a bomb threat. Bomb-sniffing dogs got a “preliminary hit” but a sweep of the building came up empty. [WJLA]
Arlington’s MLK Tribute — Arlington County held its 47th annual tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr. on Sunday. County Board members were among those in attendance, honoring Dr. King. [WTOP]
Tax Bills Could Be Going Up — Unless the Arlington County Board lowers the property tax rate, the tax bill for the average homeowner will be going up to a record $6,011. The average assessed value of residential properties in Arlington increased 2.8 percent year-over-year. [InsideNova]
Tour of Ballston Tech Office — Ballston-based cybersecurity firm ThreatConnect has grown to more than 100 employees and is continuing to expand. The company’s “hip headquarters… comes complete with some beautiful design work and creative Star Wars-centric accents.” [DC Inno]
(Updated at 1:55 p.m.) Yorktown High School students, faculty and staff were evacuated after the school received a bomb threat.
Shortly after noon, the school received a call from a “computerized-automated voice” that said “I have a bomb on me,” said Arlington County Police Department spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.
Students were evacuated to the school’s stadium while K-9 units from Arlington, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority and the CIA searched the school.
The dogs did not find anything suspicious, but officers were posted by each of the school’s entrances as students re-entered Yorktown, Sternbeck said. Students and teachers were allowed back in around 1:35 p.m.
Arlington Public Schools sent the following notes to parents about the situation:
At approximately 12 p.m. today, Yorktown High School received an automated telephone bomb threat. As a precaution, all students and staff have been evacuated. Police have responded and are currently doing a search of the building. Everyone is safe and we will provide an update as soon as we have more information.
A short time ago, Arlington Police completed their search and have given the all clear. Students are now moving back into the building and classes are resuming. We appreciate everyone’s fast response and cooperation as well as the support of our Arlington County Police Department.
Yorktown High School was not the only Virginia school to receive a bomb threat. Approximately 10 minutes after Yorktown received the bomb threat, a school in Prince William county received the same phone call, Sternbeck said.
Arlington schools do not receive bomb threats very often, he said.
“We get them at malls more frequently than at schools,” Sternbeck said.
“At this time, the air conditioning at Key Elementary School cannot be maintained at a comfortable temperature for students to return on Tuesday,” the school said in an email to parents. “If APS needs to close Key School on Wednesday, an additional notification will be sent. Otherwise, school will be open on time on Wednesday, June 17.”
“Fifth grade promotion will take place in the Washington-Lee High School auditorium (1301 N. Stafford St.) at 6:30 p.m. Fifth grade students should arrive at Washington-Lee by 4 p.m. for promotion practice.”
Earlier: Key Elementary students were bussed to Washington-Lee High School today due to a lack of air conditioning in the school.
A power outage on Sunday caused Key’s air conditioning system to fail, prompting the evacuation this morning, according to an email sent to parents.
Students will be bussed back to Key in time for normal dismissal.
From Key Elementary principal Dr. Marjorie Myers:
Dear Key Families:
I wanted to let you know that a power outage occurred yesterday that led to an air conditioning failure today at Key. With temperatures expected to be in 90s, for the health and safety of students APS will transport students by bus to Washington-Lee High School (1301 N. Stafford St.) for the remainder of the day. Instruction and meals will be provided at Washington-Lee; however, families who wish to pick up their children early may do so at Washington-Lee at any time today.
All students will be transported back to Key Elementary before normal dismissal so they can walk or ride the bus home at the regular time. Students who attend Extended Day will still be able to do so at Key, but families are encouraged to pick up their children as early as possible today.
Gas Leak Causes Evacuation in Clarendon — A Saturday gas leak forced the closing of Clarendon Blvd. near the Clarendon Metro station. Approximately 50 people evacuated six nearby buildings during the incident. Nobody was hurt. [Washington Post]
Proposal to Turn Basement into Classrooms — On Thursday, Arlington School Board members are expected to approve a $2 million project to turn basement crawl space into classrooms at Arlington Science Focus School. The project would end the need for the four relocatable classrooms on the school’s property, as well as a planned fifth. [InsideNova]
No GOP Treasurer Candidate So Far — The Arlington County Republican Committee doesn’t have any contenders so far to run in the special election for county treasurer. If no names are added by the August 15 deadline, Treasurer Carla de la Pava will be unopposed. [InsideNova]
Update on 8/28/12 at 1:00 p.m. — Police confirm they have arrested two men in connection with the suspected meth lab.
Update at 1:05 a.m. — Residents of the second and fourth floors are being allowed back in the building. The bomb squad is packing up its gear, but police and the hazmat teams are remaining on the scene, according to Fire Department spokesman Capt. Gregg Karl.
An apartment building just a block away from the Virginia Square Metro station has been partially evacuated as police and firefighters investigate a possible meth lab discovered in an apartment.
The area around the Virginia Square Apartments, a 225-unit high rise at 801 N. Monroe Street, has been cordoned off by authorities. Police, firefighters, the bomb squad and a hazmat team are all on the scene, and a decontamination area has been set up. Numerous evacuated residents have gathered outside the Metro station.
So far police are not officially confirming that they’re investigating a meth lab, only officially confirming that they found a “hazmat situation” while responding to a domestic incident on the third floor of the building. Police and the fire department chose to evacuate the second, third and fourth floors of the building, according to Arlington County Police spokesman Lt. Michael Watson.
The homemade production of methamphetamine is dangerous and meth lab explosions happen on a regular basis across the country.
Arlington County has been working on various ways to help residents prepare for an emergency, to get information during an emergency, and to evacuate in the event of a major emergency.
In the video above, county officials discuss several initiatives, including the Arlington Prepares smartphone app, Arlington Alert emails and text messages, and permanent electronic message signs that will eventually be installed along Route 50 and other major local roads.
Also discussed: the county’s state-of-the-art traffic management center, which can adjust the timing of Arlington 282 traffic signals in the event of a weather emergency or an evacuation.
Arlington Central Library (1015 N. Quincy Street) was evacuated around lunchtime today due to an odor of gas in the building.
Firefighters investigated the odor, but have since left. Library spokesman Peter Golkin says the library was back open as of 1:45 p.m.
So far there have been no reports of anyone becoming sick because of the odor, Golkin said.
The National Science Foundation building at 4201 Wilson Boulevard in Ballston was evacuated after an apparent lightning strike caused an electrical fire.
At least one witness reported hearing a popping sound as power went out. Rancid-smelling smoke spilled out of the building’s parking garage as a large fire department response surrounded the building.
While firefighters investigated the smoke, dozens of office workers stood outside in the light rain, waiting for the building to be reopened. Fire equipment blocked the westbound lanes of Wilson Boulevard.
There are reports that another building across the street was evacuated due to the smell of smoke. Firefighters believe the smoke was coming through an underground tunnel from the NSF building.
Much of Ballston, including Arlington Central Library, is currently without power.
Update at 2:20 p.m. — Most of the fire crews at the NSF building are packing up their gear. The actual fire investigation seems to be on the P2 level of the NSF parking garage.
Update at 2:25 p.m. — Wilson Boulevard has now reopened.
Update at 9:10 p.m. — From NSF spokesperson Dana Topousis: “The National Science Foundation (NSF) will be closed on Thursday, October 28, due to a power outage. Employees are encouraged to check NSFAlert.com for updates.”
Update on 10/28 — Dominion’s Le-Ha Anderson sheds more light on why the NSF building is closed here.
Wakefield High School was evacuated this afternoon due to a report of a strong odor of gas coming from a science lab.
Firefighters investigated and determined the gas odor was actually coming from lawnmowers that were being used outside. The odor had wafted into the school from an open door, according to principal Doris Jackson.
Students returned to class shortly after 2:00 p.m.