(Updated at 4:55 p.m.) The exploded Little Free Library in Arlington Forest was mysteriously rebuilt last week, much to the delight of the owners.
It was a cold, overcast, slightly snowy Wednesday morning last week when Sharon Beth Bronheim left her Arlington Forest home to do a quick errand. As it had since November when an unknown assailant blew up the Little Free Library that was once there. As a temporary measure, a plastic box filled with books sat on the wood platform in front of the house.
When Sharon Beth returned only about an hour later, at around 11 a.m., she was met with an unexpected sight.
“When I came back, it was sunny and there was a [new] Little Free Library installed,” she told ARLnow.
Neither Sharon Beth nor her husband Jeremy Bronheim were involved in rebuilding the library nor do they know the identity of the person who did it, replacing the plastic box. They did catch a glimpse of the person from their security camera but not enough to “make out who it was.”
The structure is “incredibly well-crafted,” Sharon Beth noted, with wooden shingles, solid wood on the back, and painted a delightful robin egg blue color.
“We have gratitude for whoever did this. If they want to reach out and tell us it was them, we’d love to thank them,” Jeremy said. “If they don’t, that’s okay too.”
That day, the couple added a few books of their own to the new library. By Friday morning, two days later, the library was brimming with books.
It’s a testament to the community and neighborhood that something like this could happen, they said — that a Little Free Library can get destroyed only for it to come back better than it ever was.
“The community has really embraced that location as being a Little Free Library location.”
In November, a still-unknown suspect or suspects blew up the library at the 100 block of N. Columbus Street, near the intersection with the Arlington Blvd service road. It’s believed the same people set off another small explosion that night at the nearby Lubber Run amphitheater as well.
The FBI, ATF, Virginia State Police, and Arlington County Fire Department (ACFD) all were involved in the investigation.
However, several months later, no arrests have been made as of yet.
“There are no updates to provide on this,” ACFD spokesperson Capt. Nate Hiner told ARLnow. “This is still an ongoing investigation. The ATF and FBI are not involved, the Arlington County Fire Department’s Fire Prevention Office is handling the case.”
Sharon Beth said she’d be “more comfortable” if a suspect had been caught, but understands investigations of this nature can take time. She is thankful there have been no incidents since then and that there’s a new, beautifully bright Little Free Library, anonymously built and donated by an apparently book-loving local.
Additionally, Sharon Beth’s father is currently working on a “children’s book annex” that will sit next to the library and hold picture books.
Sharon Beth and Jeremy expect to hold a “grand re-opening” celebration for the library in the spring, when the weather is warmer and the annex is completed. In the meantime, they’ll admire the handiwork, watch books cycle in and out of it, and allow the mysterious builder the chance to come forward. Or not.
“We’re just completely amazed at whoever it was that did this and greatly appreciate it,” Sharon Beth said.
Federal and state law enforcement have joined the investigation into a series of small explosions in the Arlington Forest neighborhood.
As ARLnow first reported, someone blew up a Little Free Library on the 100 block of N. Columbus Street and caused another small explosion at the nearby Lubber Run amphitheater early Wednesday morning.
The Arlington County Fire Department was joined by the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; and Virginia State Police in processing evidence from the scene.
“The Fire Prevention Office is asking anyone that lives in the immediate area with home surveillance equipment to please review their video for any information that could assist with the investigation,” ACFD said Thursday evening.
The full ACFD press release is below.
At approximately 12:45 a.m. on Nov. 9, 2022, the Arlington County Fire Department responded to the 100 block of N. Columbus St. for a reported outside fire. When crews arrived, they found a small outside fire, as well as a destroyed privately owned exterior book collection box (or, a “Little Free Library”).
A Fire Marshal was requested to the scene and during the initial investigation, it was determined that the likely source of the fire and damage was caused by a small explosion.
While performing a canvass of the initial crime scene (100 block of N. Columbus St.), the Arlington County Fire Prevention Office located a second possible crime scene at the Lubber Run amphitheater. The scene was processed by the Arlington County Fire Prevention Office with assistance from the Arlington County Fire Department Bomb Squad, Virginia State Police (VSP), Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The Arlington County Fire Prevention Office will be sending collected evidence to the ATF lab for processing. This location, as well as the initial scene, are believed to be connected and all possible leads are being explored.
The investigation is still ongoing, and we will provide updates as they become available. There is currently no suspect(s) description.
The Fire Prevention Office is asking anyone that lives in the immediate area with home surveillance equipment to please review their video for any information that could assist with the investigation.
Anyone with information pertaining to this incident is encouraged to reach out by emailing [email protected] or by calling the Arlington County Police Department’s Tip Line at 703-228-4180.
A Little Free Library was blown up in the Arlington Forest neighborhood overnight.
The explosion happened shortly after midnight on the 100 block of N. Columbus Street, near the intersection with the Arlington Blvd service road.
“When crews arrived, they found a small outside fire as well as a damaged privately owned outdoor book collection box,” Arlington County Fire Department spokesman Capt. Nate Hiner. “A Fire Marshal was requested to the scene to investigate.”
The suspect or suspects remain at large.
“The incident remains an open investigation and anyone with information pertaining to this incident is encouraged to reach out by emailing [email protected] or calling the Arlington County Police Department’s Tip Line at 703-228-4180,” Hiner said.
A resident tells ARLnow that at least one person who lived nearby ran to help control the fire.
“A neighbor went out with a fire extinguisher to control the resulting fire,” said Michael Thomas. “The Fire Department arrived shortly after to take over and ensure that the fire did not spread to [Lubber Run Park], which could have easily happened with the forest bed and understudy being so dry.”
“The explosion was followed by several others nearby,” including one that blew up another wooden fixture near the Lubber Run amphitheater, Thomas said.
Hiner said the fire department was not aware of additional explosions.
A message sent to a neighborhood listserv suggested that the Little Free Library explosion might have been caused by “a modified firework or mortar.”
Update at 4 p.m. — Fire Marshals and Virginia State Police are now on the scene of the apparent explosion at Lubber Run amphitheater, according to Thomas.
Update on 11/10/22 — The FBI and the ATF is also assisting with the investigation, the Arlington County Fire Department said in a press release.
(Updated at 2:15 p.m.) A man suffered serious burn injuries after a flash fire erupted in the kitchen of a popular Ballston restaurant during Tuesday’s lunchtime rush.
Three others were being treated for potential injuries after the flare-up at Dirt restaurant, which recently opened at 4121 Wilson Blvd.
The incident happened around 12:15 p.m. While the restaurant was bustling with a lunchtime crowd, the kitchen suddenly and unexpectedly was engulfed by a large fireball. Staff and customers ran out of the restaurant, which was quickly evacuated.
One worker who had been in the kitchen during the flare-up ran out, screaming in pain from burns. Passersby and an Arlington County Fire Department ambulance crew, apparently on their lunch break, quickly jumped into action and began comforting and treating the man as he writhed on the ground.
He was transported via ambulance to the burn center at Medstar hospital in D.C. with serious but non-life-threatening injuries, according to ACFD.
Firefighters extinguished the remaining flames in the kitchen and treated the injured, two of whom were being transported to Virginia Hospital Center with minor burns, according to scanner traffic. Occupational safety investigators were dispatched to the scene to investigate.
Later Tuesday afternoon ACFD spokesman Capt. Ben O’Bryant told ARLnow that the fire was caused by an aerosol can of cooking oil that ignited after being placed next to a stove.
Among those inside the restaurant at the time of the incident was an ARLnow editor, who was paying for an order at the front counter — which is adjacent to the kitchen — when the fireball erupted. While the editor felt the intense heat of the fire and had ash in his eye, he was otherwise uninjured.
Units were dispatched to 4100 blk of Wilson Blvd for report of multiple burn patients. 1 patient transported with serious but NLT burns. 2 patients transported with minor burns. 1 patient treated & released. Most units returning to service. Fire Marshal on scene investigating. pic.twitter.com/B8sLd6a64a
— Arlington Fire (@ArlingtonVaFD) May 7, 2019
Tree Falls in Aurora Highlands — A large tree fell across 23rd Street S. in Aurora Highland, near Crystal City, yesterday evening around 5:15 p.m. It happened near the Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic church, between S. Ives and Hayes streets, amid gusty winds that felled other trees and branches around Arlington. The tree reportedly fell on a passing car, but those inside the vehicle were not injured. [Twitter]
Challenger Presses Favola — “Affordable housing and ethical issues took center stage as Democratic contenders for the 31st state Senate seat last week squared off for the first time leading up to the June 11 primary. Facing an uphill battle to knock off a two-term incumbent, challenger Nicole Merlene pressed the case that state Sen. Barbara Favola is too beholden to special interests to effectively represent the district.” [InsideNova]
Overturned SUV Along I-395 — Around 6 p.m. Sunday, an SUV overturned on a ramp to I-395 near Washington Blvd. A photo sent by a tipster shows the SUV on its side near the guardrail. No serious injuries were reported. [Twitter]
Barcroft Principal Lauded — “Judy Apostolico-Buck, who has spent 32 years in the Arlington school system, has been named the county’s 2019 Principal of the Year.” She was also a finalist for Washington Post Principal of the Year. [InsideNova, Washington Post]
Small Explosion in Falls Church Condo — “At 11:10 a.m. today, a contractor working on a stove received minor injuries from a gas flash explosion in a unit at the Falls Chase Condominium, located at 1136 S Washington St. Arlington Fire and Fairfax Fire Departments responded to the scene.” [City of Falls Church, Twitter]
Nearby: Peeping Tom in Falls Church — “City of Falls Church police are looking for more information regarding a peeping tom seen outside of Saint James Catholic School.” [Tysons Reporter]
Photo courtesy Ray Villarreal
Update at 5:05 p.m. — Dominion has confirmed to authorities that the loud boom was caused by a malfunctioning underground transformer. Due to redundancies in Rosslyn’s electrical system, power has been restored to buildings affected by the outage, according to scanner traffic. Road closures are expected to be lifted soon.
Earlier: Arlington County Police have closed N. Lynn Street in Rosslyn to traffic and pedestrians after an explosion was heard in the area.
Initial reports suggest the explosion might be electrical in nature. 911 callers reported hearing a very loud boom, then seeing smoke and dislodged manhole covers near the Cosi restaurant at the corner of Lynn and 19th streets.
A Dominion power outage map reports an outage in the Rosslyn area. Officers escorted Dominion’s vehicles through Arlington to the scene to hasten their response. As of 5 p.m., police were still awaiting the assessment of Dominion crews before reopening the roadway.
Additional firefighters were sent to Rosslyn after the initial dispatch for reports of stuck elevators and smoke coming from the top of a building, both of which are likely related to the power outage.
No injuries have been reported, a police spokeswoman said. Metro said the explosion was not related to Metrorail service, though Metrobus service is affected by the road closure.
Drivers should expect major traffic impacts in the area with much of Rosslyn’s main outbound thoroughfare closed during the evening rush hour.
Huge explosion in Rosslyn – smoke coming out of vent. No one seems to be injured above ground. @wmata ? pic.twitter.com/3tXHbl725P
— Arthur Scott (@ArthurScott06) February 5, 2019
We are aware of the images of smoke in the Rosslyn area. This incident is *not* Metro related. There is no impact to service. 4:23p #wmata
— Metrorail Info (@Metrorailinfo) February 5, 2019
FINAL: @DomEnergyVA has given the all clear. Roadways are being reopened but motorists should expect residual delays. Police and @ArlingtonVaFD units are beginning to go back into service.
— ArlingtonCountyPD (@ArlingtonVaPD) February 5, 2019
Lynn St. in @RosslynVA is shut down right now due to some kind of explosion (hearing a possible transformer but no details). Traffic in the area is a nightmare! The off-ramp at 50 is a parking lot, 110 is backed up nearly to the Pentagon. Avoid the area! @ABC7News pic.twitter.com/bSYbnxYIZD
— Bill Kelly (@ABC7BillKelly) February 5, 2019
(Updated at 5:10 p.m.) Arlington County Police and the county fire marshal are investigating the death of a woman in the High View Park neighborhood.
The 69-year-old woman’s son found her dead from in the kitchen of her home on 18th Street N., near Virginia Hospital Center, said Arlington County Police spokeswoman Ashley Savage. Three people, including the woman and her son, live in the home, she said.
Authorities were initially investigating a report of an explosion in the kitchen, according to scanner traffic. An explosion has since been ruled out, Savage said, but there was some sort of a fire inside the home.
The stove burners were on when the woman was first found but police have not determined whether she died from an accident, from natural causes or otherwise, Savage said. At this time foul play is not suspected, she added, nor is there believed to be any sort of gas leak in the area.
“There’s no threat to the public,” said Savage, “but this is an active investigation.”
A fire truck was dispatched to the home to assist with ventilation, Savage confirmed. The street has been closed to traffic by police, though neighbors are being allowed to walk to their homes.
Property records show that the couple who owns the home has owned it for at least 23 years.
Update on Friday, Aug. 14 — Washington Gas crews were on scene digging up the roadway near the manhole this afternoon. (Photos above.)
A manhole cover “blew up” in Rosslyn Thursday afternoon, and Dominion Power is trying to figure out what exactly happened.
The incident happened at the intersection of Wilson Blvd and N. Oak Street around 12:45 p.m. A witness said there was some sort of blast that sent the manhole cover airborne with “flames and everything.”
“[The] cover launched into the air and the flames that shot out were higher than the SUV next to it,” said Elizabeth Denton.
Despite the scary scene, no injuries, damage or power outages were reported.
A Dominion spokesman said the company is investigating but isn’t yet sure what exactly happened to “dislodge” the manhole cover. A fire department spokesman could only confirm that there was a “haze of smoke” in the manhole after the incident.
“We are looking into it,” said Dominion’s Chuck Penn. “We don’t know what the cause was.”
As of around 3:00 Thursday afternoon, four Dominion trucks were parked near the intersection and workers were peering into the hole. One lane of traffic on westbound Wilson Blvd was blocked.
This was the second time in a couple of days that something happened to dislodge the manhole cover, the fire department spokesman said. The first incident this week involved a faulty electrical line, we’re told.
(Updated at 6:30 p.m.) Metro Transit Police have stepped up patrols in response to this afternoon’s deadly explosions at the Boston Marathon.
“Metro Transit Police Chief Ronald Pavlik has ordered all day-shift patrol officers to remain on duty through this evening’s rush hour to increase the security posture of the transit system,” Metro said in a press release. “Metro is taking this step in an abundance of caution. There is no specific or credible threat against the Metro system at this time.”
“Customers are urged to report suspicious activity or unattended packages by calling Metro Transit Police at (202) 962-2121,” Metro said. “Metro Transit Police continue to monitor events in Boston and will take appropriate measures to heighten security.”
Outside the Pentagon City Metro this afternoon, two Metro Transit Police officers watched riders enter and exit the station. One had military-style rifle and the other had a police dog.
So far, Arlington County Police do not have specific plans to step up staffing levels or patrols, according to ACPD spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. Arlington’s bomb squad also has not made any staffing changes, according to fire department spokesman Capt. Gregg Karl.
Local residents who have friends and loved ones at the Boston Marathon, meanwhile, have been using the Facebook pages of local running stores like Pacers and Potomac River Running to keep track of their whereabouts and well-being.
A suspected gas explosion rocked a high-rise senior living community near Ballston this morning.
One person was flown to a burn center after the explosion, inside The Carlin apartments at 4300 N. Carlin Springs Road, according to Arlington Fire Department spokesman Lt. Gregg Karl. No other injuries were reported.
About 100 residents have been displaced while authorities check the structural integrity of the building, Karl said. They’re being temporarily housed in a nearby church.
Last American WWI Vet Buried in Arlington — Army Cpl. Frank Buckles, the last surviving U.S. World War I veteran, was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery yesterday. Earlier in the day, President Obama and Vice President Biden stopped by to pay their respects as Buckles lay in repose in a cemetery chapel. [American Forces Press Service]
Underground Explosion Rocks Pike Townhouse Complex — An underground explosion caused a manhole cover to fly across the backyard of a townhouse complex near Columbia Pike yesterday morning. Firefighters are still trying to determine what caused the blast, but a strong gasoline-like odor could be smelled in the area. The gas also apparently caused fires to start near water heaters inside the townhouses. The complex is across the street from an auto repair shop and next to Four Mile Run. [ABC 7]
County Offers Tree Grants to Neighborhood Groups — Arlington is offering grants to local groups that want to plant trees on private property in the county. Grant applications are due in July, but groups must file a notice of intent next month. [Sun Gazette]
Pike Apartment Community May Be Redeveloped — Renovations or an out-and-out redevelopment may be in the works for the Greenbrier Apartments at 4975 Columbia Pike. The garden-style apartments were built in 1949 and are considered market-rate affordable. Arlington recently revised its affordable housing goals. [Pike Wire]
Nottingham PTA 5K This Weekend — The Nottingham Elementary PTA 5K Run/Walk is being held this weekend, with a course that will wind through part of North Arlington. Registration for the race ends tomorrow morning. [Active.com]