Update at 7:45 a.m. — The station is back open and operating normally this morning after last night’s smoke incident.
Earlier: Trains are bypassing the Crystal City Metro station and the station has been evacuated due to smoke coming from a set of escalators.
The initial call went out shortly before 9 a.m. for the station filling with smoke. A large fire department response is now on scene.
No injuries have been reported.
Bus service is helping to bring passengers from Crystal City to the nearby Pentagon City station. As of 9:40 p.m., the source of the smoke had been found, according to the fire department, and most personnel were in the process of leaving the scene.
#FINAL: Source has been located and has been isolated. Smoke conditions are improving and most units are in the process of clearing the scene.
— Arlington Fire & EMS (@ArlingtonVaFD) March 17, 2023
Blue/Blue+ Line Alert: Due to fire department activity at Crystal City, Metrobus routes 7A, 10A, 22A and 16E operate btwn Crystal City and Pentagon City.
— Metrorail Info (@Metrorailinfo) March 17, 2023
LOCATION: Crystal City Metro
INCIDENT: Fire Department Activity
IMPACT: Trains are temporarily bypassing Crystal City due to fire department activity. Bus service has been requested by Metro. pic.twitter.com/fbsHf3UE5a
— Arlington Alert (@ArlingtonAlert) March 17, 2023
(Updated at 9:15 p.m.) A busy set of highway ramps were shut down in Ballston due to a construction mishap.
A construction crew accidentally ruptured a large, 6-inch gas line along the 4600 block of Fairfax Drive, in front of the Holiday Inn hotel.
The fire department quickly requested that Arlington County police and Virginia State Police shut down all of Fairfax Drive between N. Glebe Road and I-66, including the ramp from the highway.
Firefighters also evaluated whether they should evacuate the hotel and surrounding buildings, but no evacuations were ultimately reported.
As of 3:15 p.m., the leak was still active, according to the fire department, despite Washington Gas crews having been on scene for about an hour, and the odor of natural gas was spreading throughout the area.
“Odor can be smelled throughout Ballston,” ACFD said on social media. “This will be an extended operation with impacts for an unknown duration.”
Firefighters were dispatched to at least one location outside of Ballston, in the nearby Bluemont neighborhood, after a caller reported a concerningly strong smell of gas.
As of 7:15 p.m., the roadway and the ramps reopened, though lane closures remain on Fairfax Drive.
🚨Traffic Advisory 🚨for those traveling I-66 in Arlington County this afternoon (3/15/23): https://t.co/f1ugfG0um8
— VA State Police (@VSPPIO) March 15, 2023
#UPDATE: @washingtongas on scene. Leak is still active. Odor can be smelled throughout Ballston. Air readings in surrounding buildings are normal. This will be an extended operation with impacts for an unknown duration. No evacuations required currently.
— Arlington Fire & EMS (@ArlingtonVaFD) March 15, 2023
Don’t be surprised if you see lots of emergency activity and hear loudspeaker announcements coming from Fort Myer this coming Wednesday.
It’s all for a planned training exercise that Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall is holding from 8 a.m.-4 p.m.
“JBM-HH will be conducting a scenario-based training exercise on the Fort Myer campus to practice responding to emergency situations,” the base said in a media advisory. “Training activity will include multiple police and fire units, people carrying training firearms and use of the joint base’s external loudspeaker (Giant Voice) for announcements. Elements of the exercise will include a casualty event and evacuation training.”
The Arlington County Fire Department will be among the organizations participating in the exercise, according to the advisory.
Local residents can also expect some traffic impacts near base entrances.
“Efforts will be made to minimize disruptions to the activities of our tenants and partners,” said the advisory. “However, some roads and access control points may be closed intermittently during the day and traffic will be redirected as necessary. Drivers are asked to be patient and allow extra time while traveling on the installation on March 15.”
Arlington County firefighters rescued a person from underneath a Metro train last night (Thursday) in Crystal City.
Arlington County Fire Department units were dispatched to the Crystal City Metro station (1750 S. Clark Street) at 8:25 p.m. for a report of an individual struck by a train, per a press release today. They found the person under a train, “conscious and alert.”
“Crews immediately began rescue operations, sending personnel onto the track bed and underneath the train to safely remove the patient,” per the release. “The patient was successfully extricated from beneath the train just before 9 p.m. and loaded onto an awaiting ambulance.”
RELEASE: Arlington County Fire Department Rescues Individual Struck by Trainhttps://t.co/xdeebBkM9W pic.twitter.com/IeuPBNK3uK
— Arlington Fire & EMS (@ArlingtonVaFD) March 10, 2023
The person was taken to an area hospital in critical condition, according to ACFD.
“Rescue operations like the one our crews faced on March 9 can be extremely challenging,” Arlington County Fire Chief David Povlitz said in a statement. “I am extremely proud of our responders and WMATA safety partners for their ability to perform such a technical operation safely, proficiently, and quickly.”
Asked about the current condition of the person who was struck, a spokesman said the fire department typically does not do any immediate follow up once someone gets to the hospital.
Metro suspended service between the Reagan National Airport and Pentagon City stations in response to the incident and requested shuttle buses to accommodate passengers, according to a tweet published around 8:4o p.m. last night.
The ACFD is assisting @wmata with an incident at the Crystal City station. https://t.co/JoZp9JmFwL pic.twitter.com/DCC4i3aVan
— Arlington Fire & EMS (@ArlingtonVaFD) March 10, 2023
Two hours later, Metro announced that Blue and Yellow line service had resumed.
UPDATED: Blue Line Alert: Train service restored btwn National Airport & Pentagon City following a person struck by a train at Crystal City. Expect residual delays.
— Metrorail Info (@Metrorailinfo) March 10, 2023
(Updated at 3 p.m.) Firefighters battled heavy fire at a house in the Bluemont neighborhood Tuesday afternoon.
The first dispatch went out around 2 p.m., for a fire spotted by a neighbor on the 800 block of N. Kensington Street, north of Wilson Blvd. A second alarm was quickly sounded.
Initial reports suggest that the house was being renovated and that the flames are being fanned in part by today’s gusty winds. Construction personnel could be seen working on the home earlier today, neighbors told ARLnow.
The fire was declared out as of 3 p.m. and most firefighters are now packing up their gear.
The damage to the structure is likely to be significant, but no serious injuries have been reported.
— Arlington Fire & EMS (@ArlingtonVaFD) March 7, 2023
(Updated at 8:45 a.m.) The Clarendon Metro station filled with smoke during this morning’s commute, prompting a large fire department and police response.
The initial dispatch went out around 8:15 a.m., for smoke in the station. The station was evacuated and trains were halted in the area.
Metro described the issue as “a track problem.” As of 8:30 a.m., reports suggest that the smoke is dissipating, no fire has been found so far, and the response is about to be scaled back.
Metro riders were told to expect significant delays in both directions of the Orange and Silver lines. As of 8:45 a.m., nothing hazardous had been found and trains were starting to resume normal operations. It’s still unclear what caused the smoke.
Orange/Silver Line Delay: Expect delays in both directions due to a track problem at Clarendon.
— Metrorail Info (@Metrorailinfo) March 7, 2023
UPDATED: Orange/Silver Line Delay: Train service suspended between Ballston & Rosslyn due to fire department activity at Clarendon. Buses requested.
— Metrorail Info (@Metrorailinfo) March 7, 2023
@ARLnowDOTcom something going on at Clarendon metro. Tons of fire and rescue
— HawkeyeKevin (@HawkeyeKevin) March 7, 2023
#WMATA investigating smoke reported in the Metro tunnel near Clarendon Metro station in the direction of Courthouse station. @ARLnowDOTcom pic.twitter.com/Nl6HLt4DuV
— Alan Henney (@alanhenney) March 7, 2023
A driver ran off the road and into the woods along the ramp from N. Glebe Road to Military Road during this evening’s commute.
The crash was reported shortly after 5:15 p.m., just up the hill from Chain Bridge. The driver and lone occupant of the vehicle, which ended up on its side, was reportedly able to crawl out.
The ramp is expected to remain closed pending the vehicle being removed from the woodline.
No significant injuries have been reported.
(Updated at 3:15 p.m.) Firefighters have rescued two construction workers after they got stuck in a lift that reportedly contacted power lines.
The incident happened around 2 p.m. at the construction site for Arlington Fire Station No. 8, at 4845 Langston Blvd.
Two men could be seen standing on the lift, which had been raised to the top of the under-construction fire station, shortly before the rescue. Initial reports suggested that one was dangling from their safety equipment immediately after the accident.
A crowd of local residents gathered on the other side of Langston Blvd, watching the rescue unfold.
Firefighters used a ladder truck to reach the lift. The men were then lowered to the ground and helped onto stretchers. They both appeared shaken but not seriously injured.
The thoroughfare remained blocked in both directions by the police and fire department activity for about an hour, reopening shortly after 3 p.m.
Just over 900 Dominion customers are now without power in the neighborhoods around the construction site.
Power company personnel and workplace safety investigators are heading to the scene, according to the fire department.
FINAL: Two patients have been transported to area hospitals in stable condition. The investigation into the circumstances of the incident remains ongoing. Units are clearing the scene and some lanes of traffic will open shortly.
— Arlington Fire & EMS (@ArlingtonVaFD) February 20, 2023
Police and medics have been dispatched to Wakefield High School at least twice for students experiencing suspected substance abuse-related issues since Tuesday’s fatal overdose.
The dispatches seem to point to administrators taking an extra-cautious approach to the medical treatment of students observed to be under the likely influence of drugs and alcohol in schools.
Arlington County police and medics were dispatched around lunchtime today for what was initially described as a possible overdose. The dispatch suggested that a 14-year-old student was breathing normally but exhibiting signs of impairment.
“At approximately 12:10 p.m. on February 6, police were dispatched to the 1300 block of S. Dinwiddie Street for the report of a possible overdose,” Arlington police spokeswoman Ashley Savage confirmed to ARLnow. “The preliminary investigation indicates this is a possession of alcohol by minor incident. The patient did not require transport to the hospital. The investigation ongoing.”
“They had to call EMS out of an abundance of caution,” said Arlington Public Schools spokesman Frank Bellavia.
Medics were also dispatched to the school during dismissal this past Thursday, following an extended lockdown for a potentially armed trespasser, for what was initially feared to be a student overdose.
“At approximately 3:23 p.m. on February 2, police responded to Wakefield High School for the report of an overdose,” said Savage. “The investigation determined this was not an overdose incident, but it did involve possession of a suspected controlled substance by a juvenile. Petitions for a narcotics violation were obtained for the juvenile. In accordance with Virginia Code, additional details are not releasable due to the juvenile’s age.”
It’s not just Wakefield and not just high schools that are experiencing drug-related issues in Arlington. Around the same time as today’s incident, police were dispatched to Kenmore Middle School for a report that administrators had discovered possible drug paraphernalia.
Parent groups have been sounding the alarm about drug use in Arlington Public Schools for at least a year. A twin epidemic of opioid use and mental health issues have led to the deaths of at least three APS students since Christmas. Parents marched outside Wakefield and spoke out at the School Board meeting last week following the death of the 14-year-old student who suffered the apparent overdose on Tuesday.
Wakefield principal Chris Willmore told WJLA that it’s unclear whether drugs in general are being used more often by students, but said that the nature of the drugs being used has changed.
“I don’t know if it’s gotten worse in terms of the number of kids that are using illicit drugs,” Willmore said in an article published by the station today. “It’s the deadliness of the fentanyl now that’s the most concerning.”
The national epidemic of fentanyl-related deaths has been blamed, at least in part, on accidental overdoses stemming from the powerful synthetic opioid being added to fake prescription drugs. Users believe they’re taking oxycodone or even the focus-enhancing drug Adderall but instead get a crudely-made counterfeit containing a fatal dosage of fentanyl.
WJLA’s article noted that Arlington police have no plans for sweeps of schools using drug-sniffing dogs.
Arlington County police say they are actively reaching out to and engaging with the younger population, building relationships, and that there’s a youth outreach unit.
When 7News asked if narcotics-trained K9s might be searching the schools for fentanyl, a spokesperson said the county does have these K9s available but there are no plans to use them at schools.
An email sent by Willmore to Wakefield families after this afternoon’s emergency response is below.
(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.
(Updated at 4:35 p.m.) There was a significant police presence at Wakefield High School today after a possible drug overdose.
One student was transported via ambulance from the school in critical condition after being found unresponsive. Four other students were treated on the scene for unspecified issues, according to the Arlington County Police Department.
Police and medics responded to the school’s medical clinic and an upper floor boys bathroom, where CPR was performed on the student who was then rushed to the hospital, according to initial reports.
A police press release issued this afternoon said the student who was taken to the hospital remains in critical condition.
The Arlington County Police Department’s Criminal Investigation Division is investigating an apparent drug overdose at Wakefield High School.
At approximately 9:27 a.m. on January 31, police and fire were dispatched to the 1300 block of S. Dinwiddie Street for the report of an unresponsive juvenile male inside a bathroom. Medics administered emergency medical aid before transporting the juvenile to an area hospital. He remains hospitalized in critical condition. Four additional juveniles were evaluated on scene by medics.
Responding officers processed the scene, collected evidence and spoke with witnesses. Based on the preliminary information, this incident is being investigated as an apparent drug overdose. In accordance with Virginia Code, additional details are not releasable due to the patient’s age.
This remains an active investigation and anyone with information related to this incident is asked to contact the Arlington County Police Department’s Tip Line at 703-228-4180 or [email protected] Information may also be reported anonymously through the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).
If you or someone you know is struggling with substance use, help is available and there are numerous treatment resources available in Arlington.
This morning, during the emergency response, Wakefield’s principal sent an email to families, noting that “students are being held in their second period classes at the request of the Arlington County Police Department.”
The school ultimately dismissed early, cancelled all evening activities and has postponed tonight’s athletic events.
“Due to the disruption caused by the ongoing ACPD investigation, we are dismissing students early,” Wakefield principal Chris Wilmore said in a subsequent email. Students will be dismissed at 12:30 p.m. and all after-school and evening activities are canceled. Students will be provided with a grab-and-go lunch if needed as they leave.”
In recent months numerous parents and advocates have sounded the alarm to ARLnow about opioid use and overdoses in Arlington’s public schools, including middle schools and high schools.
Arlington police responded to APS buildings seven times for reported overdoses between January and October 2022, according to ACPD stats. APS has been trying to combat a twin epidemic of opioid use and mental health crises among students, leading to at least two student deaths since Christmas, ARLnow reported earlier this month.
This afternoon, Wilmore sent the following email to families, noting that “additional counseling services will be available for students on Wednesday.”