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(Updated at 11:25 p.m.) At least two people have been pulled from the water on an icy cold night after a car drove into the Potomac along the GW Parkway.

The crash was first reported around 9:30 p.m., near Columbia Island Marina and the Humpback Bridge. It was not immediately clear how the car ended up in the water.

Initial reports suggest that one person was quickly able to get out of the water, possibly with the assistance of U.S. Park Police. They were taken to a local hospital via ambulance.

Another person was reported to be trapped and was taken to a hospital in critical condition after a rescue operation and CPR being performed on shore. NBC 4 reported tonight that that person has died.

Arlington County firefighters and D.C. fireboats assisted with the rescue operation alongside Park Police. Rescuers also searched the water for a possible third victim, according to scanner traffic.

“The two occupants were located and removed from the vehicle in the water,” ACFD said via social media. “Both were transported to area hospitals, one with life-threatening injuries.”

The northbound lanes of the Parkway are expected to remain closed until after midnight, according to Arlington Alert, likely as a result of the crash investigation. As of publication fire department personnel were in the process of clearing from the scene.

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A house fire in the Old Glebe neighborhood last night sent one person to the hospital.

The fire happened on N. Upland Street between N. Glebe Road and 38th Street N. around 5:30 p.m. Initial reports suggest that a plumber accidentally sliced an electrical line, injuring them and sparking a fire.

Firefighters extinguished the flames, brought the injured worker to a nearby hospital via ambulance, and worked to clear out some of the smoke from the home.

Several vans from a local plumbing company could be seen parked in front of the residence.

A fire department spokesman said the injured person had non-life-threatening injuries, but was unable to confirm the exact circumstances.

“The Arlington County Fire Department was dispatched around 5:35pm for a reported structure fire in the 3800 block of N. Upland Street,” Capt. Nate Hiner told ARLnow. “Crews arrived quickly and found a small fire that was swiftly extinguished. The origin and cause remain under investigation by our Fire Prevention Office. [One] civilian was transported to an area hospital with non-life threatening injuries.”

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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.

Blown up Little Free Library in Arlington Forest (photo courtesy Michael Thomas)
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Blown up Little Free Library in Arlington Forest (photo courtesy Michael Thomas)

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.

Wooden fixture destroyed at the Lubber Run amphitheater (photo courtesy Michael Thomas)

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.

Investigators on scene at the Lubber Run amphitheater (photo courtesy Michael Thomas)
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Advanced Towing truck parked in front of a fire hydrant near N. Quincy Street (photo courtesy of Matthew Young/@matthewyoung31)

Citing an “ongoing issue,” Arlington County has ticketed Advanced Towing multiple times in recent weeks for blocking “the most famous fire hydrant in Arlington County.”

Trucks from the Ballston-based towing company have received multiple tickets, including one as recently as last week, for parking and blocking a fire hydrant near the corner of 5th Road N. and N. Quincy Street, a county official has confirmed to ARLnow. They were not able to provide the exact number of tickets, however.

That particular hydrant, dubbed “the most famous fire hydrant in Arlington County” by former local news reporter Dave Statter, is in the alleyway next to the company’s lot. A Twitter account is devoted to documenting illegal parking in front of the hydrant.

The county says that they have “received social media complaints and emails from an anonymous account holder” about the issue.

On Saturday afternoon, the fire marshal was sent to talk with Advanced Towing about the “ongoing issue,” per scanner audio posted on social media by Statter.

The result of the ensuing conversation between the fire marshal and Advanced Towing appears to have rectified the problem for now. A spokesperson for Advanced Towing tells ARLnow via email that they’ve stopped parking in front of that hydrant.

However, the company also argued that the fire hydrant is inactive, on their property, and other cars are parking illegally in the alleyway but are not being ticketed.

“I feel the tow trucks are the only ones with attention, tickets and complaints when the entire area is constantly full of illegally parked vehicles because there’s is no parking,” the spokesperson said, while also providing photos of supposedly illegally parked cars. “No tickets have been issued.”

County spokesperson Ben Aiken did confirm that the specific hydrant is “redundant for fire purposes” with another hydrant only a few feet away, but did say it is operational and maintained “for other reasons as part of the water system.” There are also no plans to remove it.

The issue of Advanced Towing trucks parking in front of that particular hydrant apparently has been ongoing since at least 2017 per Twitter user Advanced Towing Fire Hydrant.

While the company says the hydrant is on their property, the county noted that doesn’t give Advanced Towing — or any property owner — the right to park in front of a hydrant.

“The hydrant is located within 5th Rd. North right-of-way and parking is restricted within 15 feet of a fire hydrant,” Aiken wrote in an email.

Advanced Towing also complained about the lack of parking in the area, leaving their trucks often struggling to find spots near their lot, where vehicles towed for trespassing on private property are stored (and scene of a famous incident involving a television personality).

The company cited the move from free street parking to metered spots as well as the presence of the county-owned Mosaic Park as two main reasons for why parking is hard to come by in that corridor.

“This causes huge congestion on 5th Road and surrounding areas, therefore cars are parked illegally all day long. We will also be reporting every illegally parked vehicle we see,” they said via email. “This morning alone, there were 6 at one time, and not one was ticketed.”

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Smoke from the shed fire in Green Valley (photo courtesy anonymous)

(Updated at 4:10 p.m.) A shed next to a house caught fire and filled a portion of the Green Valley neighborhood with smoke this afternoon.

The blaze prompted a large fire department response to the 2400 block of S. Oakland Street but firefighters later determined that the flames had not spread to the house, according to scanner traffic. The fire has since been extinguished.

Despite the main house not catching on fire, the blaze has displaced seven residents, according to the Arlington County Fire Department. One person was taken to a local hospital in stable condition, ACFD said.

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Fire response at Mt. Olivet Methodist Church (photo via ACFD)

Mt. Olivet Methodist Church suffered about $1 million in damage as a result of an early morning fire on Friday.

That’s according to the Arlington County Fire Department, which also said in a press release today (Monday) that the cause of the fire in the church’s attic “remains undetermined.”

From ACFD:

At approximately 2:42 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 14, 2022, the Arlington County Fire Department responded to a reported structure fire in the 1500 block of N. Glebe Road.

Units quickly arrived on the scene and found fire through the roof of the structure. Due to significant smoke conditions and amount of work required to extinguish the fire, a second alarm was quickly requested bringing additional firefighters to the scene. The fire was extinguished within 30 minutes of dispatch time, and firefighters then worked carefully to remove material from the area of origin to fully check for hot spots or any fire extension.

Units from the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department, Alexandria Fire Department, and Joint Base Myer – Henderson Hall Fire Department assisted on this incident.

The Arlington County Fire Prevention Office conducted a thorough origin and cause investigation and concluded that the fire started in the attic space; currently the cause remains undetermined. Initial estimated damages are $1,000,000.

Located at 1500 N. Glebe Road, just north of Ballston, Mt. Olivet is built on the oldest church site in continuous use in Arlington.

There’s no word yet on when services inside the church might resume. Mt. Olivet’s pastor said the sanctuary and preschool wings of the church were not damaged, though the music and education wing likely has “extensive smoke and water damage.”

The church held an outdoor worship service on Sunday, as covered by NBC 4.

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There was a fire early this morning at Mt. Olivet Methodist Church, the oldest church site in continuous use in Arlington.

The fire broke out at the church, located at 1500 N. Glebe Road near Ballston, before 3 a.m. and prompted a two-alarm response. Flames could be seen coming from the roof of the building, according to scanner traffic.

“The fire began in the attic above the music and education wing. Thankfully no one was in the building and there are no injuries,” the church said in an update posted by its pastor this morning. “There is likely extensive smoke and water damage to that part of the building. The sanctuary and preschool wings were not harmed.”

Sunday morning worship will not be held in the building but the church says it is working on an alternate plan.

The Arlington County Fire Department is currently investigating the cause of the blaze, which was extinguished by firefighters before it could spread to other parts of the building.

The full update from the church is below.

Dear Mount Olivet Family,

You have likely heard the news of a fire at Mount Olivet early this morning, Friday, October 14.

The fire began in the attic above the music and education wing. Thankfully no one was in the building and there are no injuries.

Thanks to many fire fighters and first responders from Arlington, Fairfax, and Falls Church, the fire has been extinguished.

There is likely extensive smoke and water damage to that part of the building. The sanctuary and preschool wings were not harmed.

Due to the ongoing nature of this situation, we will not be able to hold worship in our building this Sunday morning. Once we know what our plan will be for Sunday morning worship and beyond, we will let you know!

Currently, the building is not secure and the fire investigation is on going. Please do not enter the building until further notice.

We are beyond grateful that no one was injured and this was no worse than it is, but we still ask that you be in prayer for our community, clergy, and staff as we navigate the following days and weeks.

Grace and Peace,
Pastor Sara

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The Arlington County Fire Department is reviving a door logo last seen on county vehicles more than 50 years ago.

At the same time, the department is gradually upgrading its vehicles with new features, including a better ride quality on its engines. That’s according to Arlington fire department spokesman Capt. Nate Hiner, who told ARLnow that the department’s apparatus committee opted for a 1968-70 throwback design over the existing “old English style door logo.”

Beyond the visual changes, department members will have more space thanks to new cabs and chassis (the part of the vehicle including the frame, engine, transmission and other important pieces) from fire apparatus maker Pierce Manufacturing.

On top of that, air-ride suspensions in the rear of units will replace spring suspensions and provide “better ride quality on our urban streets,” Hiner wrote in an email.

Not only will air-ride suspension enable better rides, but it will also help the department streamline suspension-related repairs. The county will no longer have to send units to remote repair facilities for these fixes, which will reduce the time units are out of service, Hiner said.

So far, four units have received the new features.

“As we continue through our replacement cycle in future fiscal years this number will increase,” Hiner wrote.

Just one eagle-eyed tweeter called out new door graphics after ACFD asked users whether they could spot anything different about an engine pictured in a Sept. 14 tweet.

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(Updated at 2:40 p.m.) The rideshare driver who crashed into Ireland’s Four Courts in Courthouse last month likely experienced “a medical emergency” before driving into the building, police say.

This preliminary explanation comes after Arlington County police previously ruled out drunk driving as well as malicious intent.

The crash set fire to the popular pub, situated next to the “T” intersection of N. Courthouse Road and Wilson Blvd, during a local company’s happy hour event. It triggered a large emergency response and road closures as people fled the fiery scene. More than a dozen people were hurt.

Police said today that all three pub-goers who were hospitalized with serious, potentially life-threatening injuries have now been released — a little over a month after they were admitted. One patient was still in critical condition and two others were in stable condition within a week of the crash.

The seriously injured people are expected to undergo a rehabilitation process as they continue to recover, we’re told.

In all, 15 people were injured, including nine brought to local hospitals. Of them, three were Four Courts employees hospitalized for less serious injuries, including smoke inhalation.

Four Courts Managing Partner Dave Cahill told ARLnow that the patrons who were seriously injured may not have survived but for other quick-thinking fellow pub-goers, including a volunteer firefighter, as well as first responders who arrived on scene just moments after the crash.

“Our thoughts and prayers have been with them for this whole time,” Cahill said of the victims. “They’re regulars who come in here all the time… we’re happy that they’ve started the next stage of recovery.”

Building inspectors determined that Four Courts is structurally sound but not fit for occupancy due to the extensive damage.

The pub is planning to rebuild, funded in part by a now-closed GoFundMe campaign that blew well past its $50,000 goal, raising just over $95,000. Tonight, fellow Arlington Irish pub Samuel Beckett’s (2800 S. Randolph Street) is hosting a fundraiser and silent auction for Four Courts staff.

Cahill told ARLnow today that insurance and other matters are still being worked out before construction can begin that would allow at least part of the pub to reopen. If demolition starts soon, he said, the best case scenario would be reopening in late spring or early summer of 2023.

When the doors swing back open, he wants customers to feel like nothing has changed, and for regulars to request the same TV channels and sit in the same seats they’ve sat in for years.

“We’re going to work and recreate Four Courts as close back to the original as possible,” he said. “We don’t want people to walk in here and think they’re in a different place. Things will be updated, obviously, but we want people to feel at home in the Four Courts.”

The only thing that many repeat customers would miss would be their personal mugs. Four Courts had a mug club with more than 1,475 mugs people purchased; added their names, football team logos and family crests to; and drank from whenever they came in.

“We lost a lot of mugs,” he said. “When the fire came, it melted the mug and left the handle. We’re sad about that. That was a big part of the brand.”

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Major backup after GW Parkway blocked by crash (via Google Maps)

The northbound lanes of the GW Parkway were Friday afternoon blocked after reports of a “major” crash near the second scenic overlook.

The Arlington County Fire Department is among those that responded to the crash, south of Chain Bridge in Arlington. So far there’s no word on injuries nor the exact nature of the crash.

Northbound traffic was diverted onto Spout Run Parkway, but a significant number of drivers may have gotten stuck in the backup after Spout Run.

Drivers on the southbound GW Parkway were also seeing delays near the crash scene due to the emergency response.

Update at 1:50 p.m. — All lanes have reopened, according to U.S. Park Police.

Photo via Google Maps

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