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Morning Notes

Mostly empty fields at Long Bridge Park during a heat advisory (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Virtual Learning Program Audit — “An audit of Arlington Public Schools’ calamitous start to its virtual-learning program during the 2021-22 school year was about as damning as expected, with school-system leadership responding to it by accepting some blame but also suggesting they did the best they could under trying circumstances.” [Sun Gazette]

Road Rage Drink Toss — “Lorcom Lane and Langston Boulevard. At approximately 7:33 p.m. on August 2, police were dispatched to the report of an aggressive driver. The investigation determined the victim was driving in the area when the suspect vehicle pulled in front of her abruptly. The unknown male suspect then pulled next to the victim’s vehicle and allegedly threw a beverage at her vehicle before fleeing the scene.” [ACPD]

Hit-and-Run Fundraiser Update — The GoFundMe campaign for the family of a woman killed by a hit-and-run driver is now approaching $30,000 after exceeding its $25,000 goal in just over a day. [Twitter, Twitter]

APS HR Mystery — “Mike Krulfeld recently returned to his job as director of student activities at Yorktown High School, having been put on administrative leave in early June for reasons that were not made clear to the 24-year employee of Arlington Public Schools or the public that rallied to his cause… there was no further explanation given of what the school system had been investigating, according to sources.” [Sun Gazette]

I-395 Rush Hour Drama — From public safety watcher Dave Statter: “#caughtoncamera: Rush hour drama on I-395N when a car won’t stop for [Virginia State Police] & takes off. It hit another vehicle before coming to a stop on GW Parkway where arrests occurred.” [Twitter]

Boeing Comms Chief Based Here — “The Boeing Company today named Brian Besanceney as the company’s senior vice president and chief communications officer effective September 6… He will be based at the company’s global headquarters in Arlington, Va.” [PR Newswire]

Police Shooting in Seven Corners — “A Fairfax County detective shot a man last night (Tuesday) during what police say was a narcotics investigation in the Seven Corners area. The shooting occurred near the intersection of Arlington Blvd and Patrick Henry Drive, the Fairfax County Police Department tweeted at 11:27 p.m.” [FFXnow]

It’s Thursday — Humid throughout the day with storms and heavy rain possible later. A Heat Advisory goes into effect at 11 a.m. High of 95 and low of 76. Sunrise at 6:14 am and sunset at 8:18 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Morning Notes

Sunset along Columbia Pike at the Arlington National Cemetery expansion site (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Arlington Resident Moving to San Diego — Baseball superstar Juan Soto, who recently moved to Arlington, has been traded by the Nats to the San Diego Padres. He’ll presumably take with him some photos and art that were framed at a Clarendon frame store. [MLB]

Fairfax Barricade EndsUpdated at 9:25 a.m. — A man reportedly barricaded in a condo with a rifle near Lake Barcroft has been taken into custody. The barricade situation prompted a Fairfax County police helicopter to circle over parts of Arlington for hours. [FFXnow, Twitter]

County Getting Part of Opioid Settlement — “It’s not a princely sum, but cash is cash and the Arlington County government is set to receive its share of a new payment based on a legal settlement with a number of opioid distributors… Of the first settlement payout, about $9.94 million will go to the state government’s Opioid Abatement Authority and about $4.07 million will be distributed to localities. Arlington is entitled to 1.378 percent of that latter figure, which works out to $56,034.” [Sun Gazette]

Ballston Quarter Gets Small Tax Break — “Owners of the Ballston Quarter retail-restaurant-and-entertainment complex came away from a recent Board of Equalization hearing with a very partial victory, as that body reduced the property’s assessed valuation but not nearly as much as its owners had sought. On a unanimous vote, Board of Equalization members on July 13 voted to reduce the assessment rate – which is used to calculate the property’s annual tax bill – from $91.1 million as determined by staff to $86.7 million.” [Sun Gazette]

Va. Sens. Celebrate Vets Bill — “Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine celebrated Senate passage of the Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act of 2022 following obstruction efforts by Senate Republicans last week. This legislation will expand health care and benefits for toxic-exposed veterans under the Department of Veterans Affairs.” [Sen. Mark Warner]

YHS Grads Makes Youth National Team — “Yorktown High School graduate Lauren Flynn was named to the U.S. Under-20 Women’s Youth National Team soccer roster for the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Costa Rica from Aug. 10-28.” [Sun Gazette]

Feedback Sought for Eco Plan — “Arlington County would like your input on the draft Forestry and Natural Resources Plan. To assure future generations of Arlingtonians enjoy the benefits of nature, the County must identify what needs are urgent, what are aspirational, and how each can be addressed through both long-term initiatives, incremental change and immediate action.” [Arlington County]

Crash in D.C. Shut Down Chain Bridge — From WTOP’s Dave Dildine: “Chain Bridge closed both ways along with Canal Road and Clara Barton Parkway at the bridge. A crash occurred when traffic signals were malfunctioning. Witnesses say an officer was struck under the malfunctioning signals. These lights fall out of phase frequently.” [Twitter]

It’s Wednesday — Another hot and humid day. High of 90 and low of 71. Sunrise at 6:13 am and sunset at 8:19 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Morning Notes

A runner passes a construction site in Courthouse (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Capital Plan, Bond Referenda Approved — “The Arlington County Board has unanimously approved a $3.9 billion ten-year Capital Improvement Plan that focuses on stormwater management and flood response, climate and environmental programs, parks, transportation, and community infrastructure over the next decade… [as well as] bond referenda totaling $510.5 million to be put before Arlington voters on the November ballot.” [Arlington County]

GOP Group Wants Fewer Vote Drops — “A Republican group seeking to have Arlington election officials reduce the number of 24-hour voting dropboxes in the county got something of a cold shoulder at the July 14 Electoral Board meeting… Representatives of a national Republican voter-integrity effort asked that the number of dropboxes be reduced from nine to as few as three, citing both cost and ballot-integrity issues.” [Sun Gazette]

Primary Voting Stats — “About 57 percent of the just over 25,000 voters who cast ballots in the primary did so on Election Day at polling precincts, according to data reported to Arlington Electoral Board members on July 14. About 30 percent cast ballots by mail, and the remaining 13 percent cast ballots in advance at one of three early-voting sites.” [Sun Gazette]

Car Show This Weekend — The Green Valley antique and classic car show is happening this Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. at Drew Elementary School. The 8th annual event will also feature a parade. [Twitter]

Family Bike Ride Planned — From Kidical Mass ARL: “Tour de Spraygrounds! This Saturday 7/23 meet at 11am at Mosaic Park in @Ballston (come early to play in the water!) We’ll bike on neighborhood streets down to the sprayground at @PenroseSquare. All are welcome. Tell your friends.” [Twitter]

Car Crash PSA — From Dave Statter: “Video of the crash with 1 hurt this afternoon on I-395N at Boundary Channel provides a good reminder. Before getting out of your vehicle after a collision make sure it’s safe to do so & your vehicle is secure & won’t continue to roll.” [Twitter]

Arlington-Born Gym Expanding — “A boutique gym is bringing its boxing-inspired workouts to Fairfax County. Introduced to Rosslyn in 2018, BASH Boxing will soon extend its reach beyond Arlington County for the first time with a new studio at the Mosaic District in Merrifield.” [FFXnow]

It’s Thursday — Humid and partly cloudy throughout the day. High of 92 and low of 78. Sunrise at 6:02 am and sunset at 8:31 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Morning Notes

Amazon HQ2 reflected in a puddle in Pentagon City (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

New Way to Complain About Helo Noise –Those with concerns about helicopter noise in the local area now have a new outlet to provide feedback. A new helicopter-complaint pilot program was announced June 24 by U.S. Rep. Don Beyer (D-8th) in collaboration with the Helicopter Association International and Eastern Regional Helicopter Council. Residents will be able to submit noise concerns online at https://www.planenoise.com/dcmetro/, or by voicemail at (877) 209-3200.” [Sun Gazette, Press Release]

Arrest After Crash on the Pike — From ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage, responding to an ARLnow inquiry about this crash: “At approximately 12:10 p.m. on June 27, police were dispatched to the report of a crash with injuries at the intersection of Columbia Pike and S. Quincy Street. The preliminary investigation indicates the driver of the striking vehicle hit two vehicles and a tree before fleeing the scene on foot. Responding officers canvassed the area, located the driver and took her into custody. One patient was transported to an area hospital with injuries considered non-life threatening. The investigation is ongoing and charges are pending.”

Amazon Eyes Greenhouse for HQ2 — “The greenery proposed for Amazon’s second headquarters in Arlington is so extensive that the company needs a greenhouse to keep it going. According to plans submitted to the county, Amazon hopes to convert Meadow Farms Nurseries and Landscapes (10618 Leesburg Pike) in Great Falls into a greenhouse to provide a ‘permanent operation to provide for the continuous maintenance of the extensive landscaping elements’ at HQ2.” [FFXnow]

APS Website Redesign Coming — “We are in the early stages of redesigning our website. Can you spare 15 minutes to help make sure the new Arlington Public Schools website will be easy for everyone to use? We’ve set up an online exercise to gather feedback, and we’d love for you to participate.” [Arlington Public Schools]

It’s Tuesday — Partly cloudy throughout the day. High of 79 and low of 61. Sunrise at 5:47 am and sunset at 8:39 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Morning Notes

Looking down Lynn St. on a rainy day (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Debating the Arlington Way — “Their unsigned flier asks whether the push for new housing types marks ‘the end of the Arlington Way,’ defined as a ‘long-standing tradition of public engagement on issues of importance to reach community consensus.’ The new ‘Arlington Way 2.0,’ it accuses, involves ‘lack of respect,’ ‘failed analysis’ and ‘governance problems’ as ‘partisans grab control of decision-making and steamroll the public.’ Those harsh words made me wonder, must the Arlington Way always mean ‘you get your way?'” [Falls Church News-Press]

CA Says No to Hypothetical Abortion Prosecutions — Arlington and Falls Church Commonwealth’s Attorney Parisa Dehghani-Tafti is among “more than 80 elected attorneys from around the country [who] vowed not to prosecute individuals who seek, assist in, or provide abortion care.” [Common Dreams, Vox]

Gunfire in Green Valley — “3700 block of Four Mile Run Drive. At approximately 2:35 a.m. on June 24, police were dispatched to the report of a dispute. Upon arrival, it was determined that following an ongoing dispute between known individuals, the suspect entered the victim’s home. The victim confronted the suspect and a verbal altercation ensued outside the home, during which the suspect brandished a firearm and discharged it. No injuries or property damage were reported.” [ACPD]

Dozen Officers Graduate from Academy — “Family, friends and colleagues gathered on June 22 to celebrate the achievements of Arlington County Police Department’s 12 newest officers as Session 146 graduated from the Northern Virginia Criminal Justice Training Academy. During the graduation, the officers took their solemn oath to serve and protect the Arlington community and safeguard the Constitutional rights of all.” [ACPD]

Hit-and-Run Driver Causes I-395 Crash — From Dave Statter: “#caughtoncamera: For the 2nd time in less than 24 hrs a crash at I-395S Exit 8C. 3 cars involved, with the one causing it driving off.” [Twitter]

Awards for Arlington Students — “ACC/Arlington Tech TV Production students Lina Barkley & Ellie Nix take the 1st place gold medal for VA at the National SkillsUSA Television (Video) Prod. contest in Atlanta. Congrats to our National Champions! We are so proud!” [Twitter, Twitter]

CIP Hearing Planned Tomorrow — “Comments are welcome on Arlington’s proposed $3.9 billion FY 2023-2032 Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) during a County Board public hearing on Tuesday, June 28, 2022.  The public hearing will begin at 7 p.m. and those interested may register to speak in person or virtually by visiting the County Board website.” [Arlington County]

Fairfax Mulls Route 29 Name — “It’s possible Fairfax County will not be following Arlington’s lead in renaming its stretch of U.S. Route 29 as ‘Langston Boulevard.’ Fairfax County supervisors wish to rename Lee and Lee-Jackson Memorial highways… but a county survey – with an admittedly small sample size – found the public would prefer they just go with the roads’ numbers.” [Sun Gazette]

It’s Monday — Rain in the morning and afternoon. High of 81 and low of 70. Sunrise at 5:47 am and sunset at 8:39 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Morning Notes

Rainy evening on Crystal City’s 23rd Street restaurant row (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

New Renderings of Days Inn Development — “The plans to replace the Days Inn on Arlington Boulevard with 251 multi-family units and around 3,000 square feet of retail are coming into focus. New plans filed with Arlington County last week provide the first renderings for The Arva, the eight-story project designed by STUDIOS Architecture.” [UrbanTurf]

Yorktown Girls Lax Wins State Tourney — “After qualifying for the state tournament for the first time in 2019 and enjoying success by going 1-1 and losing in the semifinals, the Yorktown Patriots were hungry for much more in that competition. This spring, the girls lacrosse team indeed got considerably more, by winning the Virginia High School League’s Class 6 state tourney with a 3-0 record and capping its best season in program history.” [Sun Gazette]

Woman Assaults Officers in Pentagon City — “1100 block of S. Hayes Street. At approximately 9:00 p.m. on June 11, police were dispatched to the report of a disorderly subject. Upon arrival, officers met with security who advised the female suspect had been smoking inside the building and they wanted her banned from the property. Officers located the suspect and asked her to leave the premises. During the incident, the suspect became combative and struck an officer in the face. The suspect continued to attempt to strike the officers, and with the assistance of an additional responding officer, she was taken into custody.” [ACPD]

Buses Causing Damage in Ballston — “Another Arlington light pole bites the dust, this time in Ballston. Police are on the scene. A tour bus that was here earlier, possibly the striking vehicle, has since left… More bus mayhem in Ballston: a tour bus ran over and damaged some of the landscaping in front of the Westin hotel, per a reader who sent this photo.” [Twitter]

Cobbler Moving to Alexandria to Expand — “After twenty years in Pentagon Row, family-owned leatherworking shop Best Foot Forward is moving to the Bradlee Shopping Center in Alexandria early next month… ‘My dad started it as a one-man business. Now we’re looking to expand and Bradlee would be twice as big.'” [ALXnow]

Va. Realtors Worried About Market — “Members of the Virginia Realtors trade group report declining sales conditions and more concern about the future, owing to higher interest rates, more inventory and perhaps the sense among some residents that it’s time to batten down the hatches rather than take on the responsibility of a new home.” [Sun Gazette]

Arlington Bear Now in Fairfax County? — “A bear was sighted in the Belle Haven area on Thursday (June 9), and one Nextdoor user snapped some photos of it crossing George Washington Memorial Parkway near Belle View Boulevard… The Fairfax County Police Department says its Animal Protection Police and wildlife management specialist were alerted to bear sightings in the area over the weekend. The department has also received recent reports of a young bear moving through McLean.” [FFXnow]

Missing Middle Modifications in Portland — “The Portland City Council unanimously approved a long list of seemingly technical zoning tweaks that ease the city’s rules on construction of… housing types like townhomes, fourplexes, and cottage clusters… The program got hearty praise at the time as the nation’s most ambitious low-density zoning reform. It’s spawned an infant industry of developers building smaller, more affordable ‘missing middle’ housing. Nevertheless, the results thus far have been fairly modest, producing only about 100 additional units since the program went into effect in August 2021.” [Reason]

It’s Tuesday — Rain and storms, potentially severe, in the morning. Clearing in the afternoon. High of 82 and low of 73. Sunrise at 5:44 am and sunset at 8:36 pm. [Weather.gov]

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Morning Notes

Swimming pool in May, ready for the new season (Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman)

Restorative Justice Coming to Schools — “Restorative Arlington has partnered with Arlington Public Schools (APS) to support Restorative Justice in Education. Restorative Arlington has allocated over $140,000 to provide direct services to APS, including services for students who have experienced harm as well as restorative justice training for staff and additional resources.” [Arlington Public Schools]

Candidate Addresses Achievement Gap —  “The county’s likely next School Board member has become the latest to try and enunciate ways to address [the academic-achievement gap]. The gap is significant and ‘has gotten worse’ over the pandemic era, candidate Bethany Sutton acknowledged during a May 14 forum sponsored by the Blue Families caucus of the Arlington County Democratic Committee.” [Sun Gazette]

Fatal Crash Near Arlington Border — “Officers responded at 2:16 a.m. to the 3700 block of S. George Mason Drive. Preliminarily, detectives from our Crash Reconstruction Unit determined the driver of a 2016 Volkswagen Jetta was travelling southbound on S. George Mason Drive attempting to turn left into Skyline Plaza. The driver of a 2018 Honda Accord was travelling northbound on S. George Mason Drive and struck the Jetta on the passenger side. Initially, both occupants of the Accord ran from the scene.” [Fairfax County Police]

It’s Friday — Rain and storms throughout much of the day. High of 73 and low of 67. Sunrise at 5:49 am and sunset at 8:26 pm. [Weather.gov]

Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman

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Morning Notes

The U.S. Air Force Memorial and surrounding construction at twilight (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Cristol Calls Out Displacement ‘Lie’ — “Time will tell, as it always does, but Arlington elected officials say the public and some activists are mistaken if they believe there will be wholesale displacement of residents of the Barcroft Apartments complex in South Arlington. At a May 14 meeting, County Board Chairman Katie Cristol – not one normally known for getting rattled while on the dais – decried as a ‘lie’ the displacement rumors at the sprawling, 1,334-unit apartment complex.” [Sun Gazette]

Crash Last Night on GW Parkway — From Alan Henney: “Another auto went over the wall on the northbound side of the GW Pky prior to the Key Bridge in Arlington. Amazingly driver is out uninjured after his auto slid down the embankment.” [Twitter]

Marymount University Commencement — From Princess Reema bint Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the U.S.: “It was my tremendous privilege to give the commencement at @marymountu, a university that like many around the U.S. hosts Saudi students. It was my absolute honor to receive an honorary doctorate, thank you to the faculty and Dr. Becerra for this special day.” [Twitter, Sun Gazette]

Metro CEO and COO Resign — “The WMATA Board of Directors has accepted Paul Wiedefeld’s decision to make his retirement effective today. In addition, Chief Operating Officer Joe Leader has resigned, effective immediately.” [WMATA, DCist]

New Skyline Development Proposal — “Madison Marquette has filed plans to convert two Baileys Crossroads office building into live/work lofts, advancing a vision to resuscitate the huge multibuilding cluster known as Skyline Center. By repurposing the mostly emptied office spaces — which meet planning and code requirements to serve as apartments and/or offices for small firms — Skyline can once again become ‘the gravitational center for the area.'” [Washington Business Journal]

Body Cams for Falls Church Police — “Police officers with the City of Falls Church will now be equipped with body-worn cameras beginning this month.” [WJLA, City of Falls Church]

It’s Tuesday — Clear throughout the day. High of 77 and low of 59. Sunrise at 5:55 am and sunset at 8:17 pm. [Weather.gov]

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The annual fish fry at St. James Catholic Church in Falls Church (courtesy photo)

Locals looking for a good fish fry this Lenten season will have to cast their nets outside Arlington.

People won’t have to go far to indulge for Fat Tuesday — which is today — whether that’s with King Cake from Bayou Bakery or Cajun food at Ragtime. But getting to a fish fry may involve a drive into Falls Church or Fairfax County.

Catholics and some other Christian sects fast on Ash Wednesday (tomorrow) and certain days during Lent, the 40-day period leading up to Easter. Traditionally, that involves abstaining from flesh meats, such as chicken, beef or pork, on Fridays.

Over time, the fasting tradition turned into the church fish fry, often run by a local Knights of Columbus chapter to benefit charity or a parish to support their various ministries. The menu typically includes baked and fried fish, French fries, coleslaw, mac and cheese, other assorted sides and dessert.

But Midwest and Northeastern transplants to the D.C. area have noted their beloved fish fries aren’t as popular in and around D.C.

“I found that fish fries are mostly up north, as I have a lot of family up that way,” says Myles McMorrow, who sits on the board of Arlington’s chapter of the Knights of Columbus on Little Falls Road. “[For] me, personally, I have never heard of a fish fry in the D.C. metro area and I grew up here.”

He says the local Knights observe Lent by dropping meaty meals from its council restaurant’s menu. Some local churches in the Diocese of Arlington host meatless soup suppers, including St. Agnes Catholic Church in Arlington.

Those who are Catholic, curious or culturally homesick are told their best bet for finding a fish fry is to drive deeper into Virginia.

Fish fries are mostly a Midwestern and Rust Belt phenomenon because European Catholic immigrants relied on the abundant fish of the Great Lakes to observe their religious fasts. Over time, the tradition may have blended with an African-American tradition of gathering together for fish fries, which began on plantations and continued after Emancipation as families moved North.

Churches in the Diocese of Arlington had to sacrifice Lenten gatherings in 2020. In 2021, options were sparse, but this year, a number of parishes have resurrected fish fries and soup suppers.

The closest for Arlingtonians is hosted by St. James Catholic Church in Falls Church. It was started in 2010 by a group of parishioners that included a homesick Ohio native.

Every year, hand-battered fish and scratch-made potatoes, hush puppies, coleslaw and carrot cake reel in pilgrims from D.C. to Fredericksburg. People can buy T-shirts emblazoned with the year’s slogan, which is always a fish pun. (This year’s is that the 13th annual fish fry “is trout of this world.”)

“I remember this couple who drove in from D.C.,” says parishioner Karen Bushaw-Newton. “They said, ‘We just heard there was a fish fry and we came to check it out.’ We know a lot of the parishioners who come — and we have a lot of regulars and families — [and] we have people like that couple who just wanted to see what a fish fry was like.”

When COVID-19 hit, the fish fry turned into a drive-thru that, on some Fridays, served more than 1,000 meals in three hours.

“I highly encourage anyone and everybody to come. We don’t ask your faith when you come in the door — it’s just a way to come celebrate,” Bushaw-Newton said.

For those who want to go farther afield, there are a number of other Northern Virginia fish fries, though each would require a longer drive in Friday rush hour traffic. Below are a few of the options.

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Water pipe / infrastructure work (file photo)

Update at 5 p.m. — Water service has been restored ahead of schedule, county officials say.

Earlier: A western portion of Arlington County has lost water pressure due to a broken valve, leaving a couple thousand water customers high and dry.

Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services announced around 12:45 p.m. that a part of the county that receives water from Fairfax County’s system has had its service impacted by a broken valve.

“Engineers are working on repairs,” DES said in a tweet. “Estimated time for completed repairs/return of full water pressure: 6 p.m. Willston customers are asked to conserve water.”

Willston refers to the name of the water system within Arlington, comprising about 2% of the county’s population in the Dominion Hills and Boulevard Manor neighborhoods.

“The Willston Area system is located on the western edge of Arlington County along Wilson Boulevard,” notes the county’s water distribution plan. “The water provided in the Willston Area system is treated at both the Dalecarlia and McMillian WTPs, flows through the Fairfax Water system, and then into the Willston Area.”

DES noted that Fairfax County is performing the repairs, although Arlington generally maintains the pipes.

Thanks to quirks in geography and the development of local infrastructure, Arlington and Fairfax County’s water systems each serve some of each other’s customers under a recently-updated agreement.

The agreement also sought to provide redundancy for each water system through a new transmission main. Arlington County’s primary system and the Willson water system both get their water solely from the Washington Aqueduct, across the river, whereas Fairfax’s system uses two of its own water treatment plants along the Potomac and Occoquan rivers.

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Massive house fire on Chain Bridge Road, as seen from D.C. (via @jlilley626/Twitter)

(Updated at 1:25 p.m.) The long-time mansion of former Virginia Senator Chuck Robb is ablaze just over the Arlington border.

Firefighters from Arlington and Fairfax counties were dispatched to the home on the 600 block of Chain Bridge Road just after 11:30 p.m. Arriving firefighters reported fire throughout the first floor of the home, which quickly spread to upper floors and the roof.

The massive blaze could be seen from across the Potomac in both D.C. and Maryland, while a haze and the smell of smoke wafted over Arlington neighborhoods more than a mile away.

Chain Bridge Road is closed in both directions due to the emergency activity, which now also involves units from the Montgomery County, Maryland fire department.

According to scanner traffic, both occupants of the house made it out, but may have suffered minor burns and smoke inhalation. They were taken to a local hospital via ambulance.

Due to heavy fire, firefighters were only able to battle the blaze from outside the home. Around midnight, units on the scene reported that trees near the house were starting to catch fire.

The mansion has been owned by Sen. Robb and his wife Lynda, daughter of former president Lyndon B. Johnson, since the 1970s, property records show. In the 1990s a large addition brought the brick home overlooking the Potomac to nearly 20,000 square feet and 19 bedrooms, according to a newspaper report at the time.

The home is likely to be a total or near-total loss.

Robb, 82, published a memoir earlier this year. He also served as governor of Virginia from 1982-1986.

The stretch of Chain Bridge Road around the fire includes some of the priciest homes in the D.C. area. On either side of the Robb property is a sprawling estate owned by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and The Falls, an estate on the Arlington side of the border that sold for $45 million in 2020. Arlington fire units were dispatched to that heavily-guarded property, which features a Frank Lloyd Wright-designed guest house and whose buyer was never publicly revealed, for a report of smoke alarms going off during the firefighting effort next door.

More via social media:

On Wednesday, Gov. Ralph Northam said he was “saddened” by the fire, a sentiment echoed by other Virginia elected leaders.

The governor’s office also released the following statement from the Robb family.

The residence of former Governor Chuck Robb and former Virginia First Lady Lynda Robb sustained major damage Tuesday evening as fire engulfed their home of nearly 50 years.

The Robb family confirmed their parents had no life-threatening injuries and had been transported by ambulance to the hospital. They were the only occupants at the time of the fire.

“Our entire family is deeply grateful to the firefighters for their rapid response and the medical professionals who are taking care of them,” said the three daughters of Charles and Lynda Robb. “We have what is most important to us — our mom and dad.”

Hat tip to Alan Henney

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