Firefighters are investigating smoke in a building along Columbia Pike and the emergency response has shut down the westbound lanes.
The fire investigation is happening on the 3700 block of Columbia Pike, the same block as El Rancho Migueleno.
No active fire has been found, according to scanner traffic, and most fire department units are getting ready to leave the scene.
— Arlington Fire (@ArlingtonVaFD) May 24, 2018
Firefighters from Arlington, Alexandria and Fairfax battled a townhouse fire in the Columbia Forest neighborhood Saturday evening.
The fire broke out in the attic of a townhome on the 4800 block of 10th Street S., near Columbia Pike and Four Mile Run, around 5:30 p.m.
Firefighters were able to get the blaze under control before it could spread.
#Update Units are remaining on scene to check for further extension. E109 encountered heavy fire, but a quick response kept the fire contained to the attic. Thanks to our partners with @ffxfirerescue and @AlexandriaVAFD to get this fire out quickly! pic.twitter.com/1U40GKGLtc
— Arlington Fire (@ArlingtonVaFD) May 19, 2018
— Arlington Fire (@ArlingtonVaFD) May 19, 2018
ARLINGTON COUNTY | STRUCTURE FIRE | 4800 BLK OF 10TH STREET SOUTH | FIRE IN THE ATTIC NOW UNDER CONTROL | RIT 1 REQUESTED pic.twitter.com/Lh0YXTS2U3
— LincolnACFD (@LincolnACFD) May 19, 2018
Flickr pool photos by TheBeltWalk
More Capacity for Yorktown, Career Center — The Arlington County Board this weekend is expected to approve use permit amendments that will allow 300 additional seats at Yorktown High School, thanks to internal modifications, and another 200 seats at the Arlington Tech program within the Arlington Career Center. [InsideNova]
Crystal City BID Considering Expansion — “The Crystal City Business Improvement District is weighing plans to include Pentagon City and Potomac Yard within its borders, creating a single, unified submarket that could also serve as a larger canvass for Amazon.com Inc. as it homes in on potential locations for its second headquarters.” [Washington Business Journal]
Entry-Level Homes Remain Sparse — One of the challenges facing the real estate market in Arlington and Northern Virginia as a whole is a dearth of entry-level homes for sale. Likewise, the inventory of homes for sale in general is low. Said one agent: “In hot areas like Merrifield, Arlington, Reston and Tysons, my buyers are experiencing multiple-offer situations.” [InsideNova]
ACFD Removes Handcuffs from Student’s Wrist — “Interesting call of the day: When you’re playing with handcuffs and the key breaks! [Rescue] 109 cut off a pair of handcuffs that had got stuck on a student’s wrist. No injuries except a broken pair of cuffs.” [Twitter]
GGW Endorses in County Board Race — The urbanist website Greater Greater Washington has endorsed Matt de Ferranti in the Democratic Arlington County Board primary. de Ferranti told the website that he supports “building housing that would be affordable across a variety of incomes and available to younger workers who can build income and own homes in the future.” [Greater Greater Washington]
Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley
Update at 10:45 a.m. — The body of a deceased adult male was found in the Potomac River near Daingerfield Island just before 6.30 p.m. last night, according to D.C. police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck.
“MPD Harbor Patrol units were dispatched to the area of Daingerfield Island on the Potomac River to assist in the search for an alleged missing person,” Sternbeck said. “Upon arrival, we were notified that an Arlington County Fire [water rescue unit] located a deceased adult male in the water. The District’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner recovered the individual and is working to correctly identify the decedent.”
Sternbeck said he was unable to confirm whether the deceased individual is someone sought in a missing person case in Arlington until the body has been identified and next of kin notified.
An Arlington County Fire Department spokesman said that the department is assisting police in a search for a “possible missing person” and confirmed that water rescue equipment was used in the search.
According to scanner traffic, a police helicopter provided assistance from the air.
A tipster characterized the search as a “body recovery” along Four Mile Run near the intersection of S. Glebe Road and S. Arlington Ridge Road, but there is no official word yet about what, if anything, was found.
An Arlington police spokeswoman deferred to D.C. police for comment, saying that the Metropolitan Police Department was the primary law enforcement agency handling the search. ARLnow.com is waiting to hear back from an MPD spokesman.
Last night firefighters rescued a person stranded in high water along Four Mile Run near today’s search site.
Photo via Google Maps
Arlington Named Fittest ‘City’ in U.S. — “Arlington has been named the fittest city in America, according to the 2018 American Fitness Index ranking from the American College of Sports Medicine. The Northern Virginia jurisdiction eeked out a win over last year’s champ, Minneapolis, by just a half point, with an overall score of 77.7. Minneapolis came in second with a score of 77.2.” [Washingtonian, USA Today]
Person Rescued from High Water — Firefighters rescued someone trapped under a bridge by high water following last night’s storms. Around 9:30 p.m., firefighters responded to the 2800 block of S. Glebe Road for a possible water rescue along Four Mile Run. The victim was removed from the high water and evaluated by paramedics. [Twitter, Twitter]
Airport Noise Battle Rages On — “Residents in several Northwest Washington neighborhoods aren’t giving up their fight against airplane noise from flights at Reagan National Airport. They are asking for a rehearing of their case against the Federal Aviation Administration from a full panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.” [Washington Post]
George Mason Drive was closed and nearly a dozen condominium residents evacuated after workers struck a gas line near Barcroft Park this morning.
The gas line was struck shortly after 11 a.m. on S. George Mason Drive between Four Mile Run Drive and S. Columbus Street. The stretch of road was closed by police as a Washington Gas crew worked to clamp the gas line and as firefighters stood by with hoses ready should the gas ignite.
Just before noon the leak was reported to be stopped. Police were reopening three out of the four lanes of George Mason while the gas company started working to fix the line. Firefighters were checking nearby buildings — including the adjacent George Mason Village condos — to ensure that the gas had dissipated.
The line appears to have been struck by a private traffic signal contractor, which had a truck parked nearby.
No injuries were reported.
An apparent rear-end collision between a coupe and a pickup truck resulted in the coupe picking up the rear of the truck.
The crash happened this morning on Route 110, which runs from Rosslyn to the Pentagon. No injuries were reported.
The Arlington County Fire Department tweeted photos of the crash to remind residents to drive safely, particularly today on Arlington’s annual Bike and Walk to School Day.
All occupants were lucky to escape this incident without injuries this morning on Rt 110. Today is #APSBike2SchoolDay Make sure your focus is on the road and the pedestrian traffic around you today pic.twitter.com/7dIZVbnWgp
— Arlington Fire (@ArlingtonVaFD) May 9, 2018
Water Disinfectant Switch — With the annual pipe spring cleaning complete, the Washington Aqueduct will be switching back to chloramine as its water disinfectant after today. [ARLnow]
Auction Item Prompts Mini Controversy — Ethical concerns were raised over the weekend by an item donated by State Sen. Barbara Favola (D) to an auction at the annual Fairfax Democrats dinner. The winning bidder was promised an official introduction on the state Senate floor. Favola responded by saying she was “horrified” and that she “never approved this auction item.” [Twitter, Twitter, Blue Virginia]
Choun Profiled By VOA — Democratic Arlington County Board candidate Chanda Choun had his campaign highlighted by the Voice of America. [Voice Of America]
Nearby: Wonder Woman and J-D Highway — Two items of note in Alexandria: first, Wonder Woman 2 is set to film some scenes at the Landmark Mall. Also, Alexandria is replacing signs marking Jefferson Davis Highway (Route 1) with its new name in the city: Richmond Highway. [Washington Business Journal, WTOP]
Arlington Fire Chief James Bonzano is retiring in a few months, ARLnow.com has confirmed.
The county will formally announce Bonzano’s retirement this afternoon. A job posting, seeking his replacement, was recently published on the county careers website.
Bonzano will have served as chief for about three years when he retires, capping a 34-year career with the Arlington County Fire Department that included service as EMS branch director at the Pentagon following the Sept. 11 terror attacks. He was appointed acting chief following Chief James Schwartz’s ascension to deputy county manager in 2015 and was subsequently named the permanent fire chief in 2016.
In a statement, County Manager Mark Schwartz lauded Bonzano’s commitment to the Arlington community.
“Jimmy has dedicated his career and his life to Arlington County and the people who live and work here, and I thank him for all he has done in his more than three decades of service,” said Schwartz. “His commitment to strong and progressive leadership has ensured the safety of our community.”
Bonzano, who was born in Arlington, said that “it has been my privilege to serve the community I love for 34 years.”
“The time has come to slow down and spend time with my family,” he said in a statement. “I am honored to have led the dedicated men and women of the Arlington County Fire Department, and I am proud of what we have achieved together.”
“I offer my sincere thanks to Mark Schwartz, the executive leadership team, the men and women of the fire department, and the citizens of Arlington County for providing me the opportunity to be their Fire Chief,” he continued. “It has been a remarkable experience I will always cherish.”
The fire department has been facing staffing challenges amid retirements, though the new county budget seeks to address that via increases in first responder pay. A new recruit class of 28 firefighter/EMTs, just sworn in last week, will also help “make the department’s staffing numbers whole.”
An exact retirement date has not been confirmed, but a fire department spokesman said that Bonzano will retire at the end of the summer.
The county is currently in the process of looking for a new chief. The full text of the job posting for the position is below, after the jump.
Hat tip to Tom N.
One person was sent to the hospital after a fire in a Virginia Square condominium Friday morning.
The fire was reported around 6:30 a.m. at the high-rise Hawthorn condo building, which is located at 820 N. Pollard Street, across Wilson Blvd from Gold’s Gym.
The fire was contained by a sprinkler system, allowing firefighters to quickly extinguish the flames. Large ladder trucks were used to help with the firefighting effort.
One condo resident was taken to a hospital emergency room for observation, according to the Arlington County Fire Department. The Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating the cause of the blaze.
Fire is out. Units clearing smoke and checking for water damage. pic.twitter.com/YYeRqZVpeo
— Arlington Fire (@ArlingtonVaFD) May 4, 2018
Final Update: 1 resident transported to ER for observation. No other injuries reported. FM investigating pic.twitter.com/Vm8m7qkaD6
— Arlington Fire (@ArlingtonVaFD) May 4, 2018
— Jonah Falcon (@Hsonetheboss) May 4, 2018
— Julia Grant (@grantpartnersdc) May 4, 2018
Fedorchaks on Why They Love Arlington — Mark and Stephen Fedorchak — the brothers behind Northside Social, Lyon Hall and Liberty Tavern — reveal in a Q&A why they built their lives and restaurant empire in Arlington, and whether they’ll stay. [Washingtonian]
Hula Girl Makes Best Restaurants List — Shirlington’s Hawaiian-influenced restaurant, Hula Girl, made the list of the 30 best restaurants in America, according to Yelp reviewers. The restaurant, whose owner competed on the cooking show “Chopped” last year, came in at #27. [The Daily Meal]
Fire Recruit Graduation — The Arlington County Fire Department will hold a graduation ceremony tonight for more than two dozen fire and EMS recruits. Class members will receive their badges and helmets after being sworn in. The ceremony takes place from 6-8 p.m. at the Founders Hall Auditorium (3351 Fairfax Drive) on the George Mason University campus in Virginia Square.
A large fire department response was dispatched to the school at 2600 N. Stuart Street. Students and staff have been evacuated, according to scanner traffic.
No fire or flames have been found and firefighters are investigating work on the roof as a possible cause, according to radio traffic. Police are blocking off roads around the school.
#Alert: Units on scene 2600 blk N Stuart Street for reports of smoke. Light smoke condition found. Building fully evacuated. Crews investigating source.
— Arlington Fire (@ArlingtonVaFD) April 24, 2018
The Arlington County Board on Saturday unanimously passed a $1.276 billion balanced budget that includes a number of fee increases but no real estate tax rate hike.
The FY 2019 budget notably restores $70,000 in funding for Arlington Independent Media — County Manager Mark Schwartz proposed cutting about $90,000 in county funds for the community TV and radio broadcaster — after AIM collected more than 1,300 online petition signatures against the cut. The Board also boosted first responder pay, particularly starting pay which police and firefighter associations say is low and hurting recruitment, by $1.6 million above the manager’s recommendation, which already included a pay boost.
Funding the increased spending is the reallocation of $2.5 million from proposed renovations to the county government headquarters in Courthouse and the freezing of 16 vacant public safety positions.
Per the manager’s recommendations, the budget also increases parking meter rates and extends metered hours until 8 p.m., while increasing utility taxes, household waste fees and various departmental fees.
“The Board largely accepted the $8.4 million in spending reductions, $6.6 million in fee and tax increases and $5.5 million in funding realignments recommended by the County Manager in his proposed budget,” notes a county press release, below. County Board Chair Katie Cristol called the adopted budget “sustainably progressive.”
County funding for Arlington Public Schools will top the $500 million mark, as the school system continues to face pressures from enrollment growth and the opening of new schools. Metro, meanwhile, will receive a 3 percent increase in funding, receiving $73.1 million from the county’s coffers and state transit aid earmarked for Arlington.
In addition to AIM and first responders, the Board nixed the following cuts proposed by Schwartz, according to the markup record:
- $620,000 for the Affordable Housing Investment Fund
- $365,000 for Lee Highway planning and $25,000 for the Lee Highway Alliance
- $40,000 for the Legal Aid Justice Center, which serves immigrants
- $200,000 for a body scanner at the county jail
- $50,000 for the Arlington County Fair
- $20,000 for community shredding events
- $40,000 for the Arlington Neighborhood College program
- $184,000 for a youth mental health therapist
Among the proposed cuts not restored: the elimination of the printed Citizen newsletter, the elimination of two ART bus routes, the elimination of Arlington’s poet laureate and a $555,000 cut to the Arlington Initiative to Rethink Energy residential rebate program.
The latter drew some pushback from Board members.
“The cuts that we’re doing this year to AIRE — nobody’s going to die, there’s nothing fundamentally that any of us are going to lose sleep over or should be ashamed of,” said Erik Gutshall. “But while people don’t die, our planet is dying, its ability to sustain our life at least.”
“In future budgets, while we’re going to continue to make tough choices, we’re not going to let our commitment to the environment fall behind,” he added.
Despite the disagreements, the Board was unanimous in its vote on the budget, which Board members praised for prioritizing key areas while avoiding a tax rate increase. (The tax burden on the average homeowner will still increase by $296.)
“Despite the reductions, there are investments our community can be proud of in this budget,” Cristol said in a statement. “We prioritized funding our public schools, especially teachers, and investing in our workforce, especially public safety personnel. We preserved our social safety net and sustained funding for affordable housing and core services.”
“I see this budget really as a transition from the way we’ve been doing things to the way we’ll need to do things going forward,” said Libby Garvey. “This community has pretty much gotten used to having as much money as we need to do what we want to do. This year it’s starting to change. It’s likely to be even harder in the future with the stresses we have moving forward. I think it’s a good transition to what we’ll be doing moving forward.”
“What I think we’ve done is really weatherize our fiscal house for the inclement weather ahead,” echoed John Vihstadt. “It’s only going to get tougher as we move forward, but we took some important steps here that, while not greeted uniformly favorably, were necessary to be done.”
Arlington Independent Media and public safety associations, meanwhile, expressed gratitude for the additional funding.
Thanks to all our members, producers & supporters for sharing your stories with @ArlingtonVA County Board. Thanks to @kcristol @Arl_CDorsey @libbygarvey @jevarlington & @erik4arlington for listening! We appreciate the work you do. We look forward to the future! #ArlingtonVA
— AIM (@arlington_media) April 21, 2018
THANK YOU to the Arl CB for adopting the FY19 budget w/ enhanced public safety pay! This will help retain & recruit high-quality police officers & firefighters. #FairPayforFirstResponders @kcristol @Arl_CDorsey @libbygarvey @voteforvihstadt @erik4arlington https://t.co/yf3AWNI1Vn
— Arlington Police Beneficiary Association (@ArlPoliceAssoc) April 21, 2018
Yes…thank you to the Board and County Manager for listening and supporting us. This was a positive step forward for public safety. https://t.co/P2NytKBoJT
— IAFF Local 2800 (@IAFF2800) April 21, 2018
Arlington County’s press release about the budget, after the jump.
Arlington County firefighters extinguished a small mulch fire on the roof of an apartment building over the weekend.
The fire broke out around 4:15 p.m. Saturday on the roof of the new Latitude Apartments in Virginia Square, on the 3600 block of Fairfax Drive.
Smoke could be seen coming from the top of the building, prompting a large fire department response. The fire was extinguished and no one was hurt. The cause is under investigation, according to ACFD.
— Kevin (@surrrewhynot) April 21, 2018
#Update Mulch fire on roof of apartment building has been extinguished. Units are going in service. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
— Arlington Fire (@ArlingtonVaFD) April 21, 2018
Photo courtesy @surrrewhynot
Washington Blvd is currently closed to traffic due to a crash at the intersection with N. Glebe Road, near Ballston.
Initial reports suggest two vehicles — a car and a pickup truck — were involved in a T-bone crash. The driver of the car needed to be extricated from the vehicle by firefighters.
Southbound Glebe is currently open to traffic but the northbound lanes are closed, as are all lanes of Washington Blvd approaching the intersection.