Arlington, VA

Morning Notes

Hospital Construction Starting Soon — “Around the time most local residents are firing up the grills for mid-summer barbecues, Virginia Hospital Center will be firing up the bulldozers as it moves forward with a long-awaited expansion. Hospital officials aim to have their land-swap agreement with the county government in place by the end of July, and ‘the plan is to begin construction shortly thereafter.'” [InsideNova]

Swastika in S. Arlington Park — “From a local Nextdoor group: someone drew swastikas on a sign board in Troy Park near S. Glebe Road. A parks department spokeswoman says the graffiti has been covered up and no other incidents of this kind have been reported recently.” [Twitter]

When To Report an Oily Sheen on the Water — “A rainbow sheen can result from iron-oxidizing bacteria or from petroleum. To differentiate, trail a stick through the film. It it readily breaks up, it’s most likely bacteria. If it swirls together, it’s most likely petroleum and should be reported.” [Arlington County]

When to Call 911 for a Medical Issue — “The Arlington County Fire Department (ACFD) is initiating a public information campaign to help individuals, facilities and communities develop the know-how to ‘Make the Right Call.’ The effort aims to empower the community to help maintain EMS system readiness by learning appropriate utilization of the medical 911 system.” [Arlington County, Twitter]

Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley

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Update at 2 p.m. — Police have released additional details about the stabbing and the suspect. Per a press release:

The Arlington County Police Department has arrested and charged a suspect following a malicious wounding investigation at Gateway Park. Wondwossen Kassu, 40, of No Fixed Address was charged with three counts of Malicious Wounding and three counts of Unlawful Wounding in the Commission of a Felony. He is being held without bond in the Arlington County Detention Facility.

At approximately 9:27 p.m. on May 21, police responded to the report of multiple stabbings in Gateway Park located at 1300 Lee Highway. Upon arrival, officers located the suspect and took him into custody without incident. During the course of the investigation, officers located three male victims suffering from lacerations. The victims were transported to area hospitals and all are reported in stable condition.

Based on the preliminary investigation, it appears two of the victims were sitting at a table inside Gateway Park when the suspect approached them and initiated a conversation before producing a knife and stabbing the victims. The third victim was walking in the area when he came upon the initial assault. The suspect then turned his attention towards the third victim and stabbed him as well. Two victims were able to leave the scene to seek assistance. They were located by responding officers in the 1900 block of Fort Myer Drive and the 1800 block of N. Nash Street.

This remains an active criminal investigation. Anyone with information related to this investigation is asked to contact Detective S. King of the Arlington County Police Department’s Homicide/Robbery Unit at 703-228-4243 or [email protected] Information may also be provided anonymously through the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).

Earlier: Arlington County Police are investigating a reported stabbing spree in Rosslyn.

Initial reports suggest three people were stabbed in or near Rosslyn’s Gateway Park. Two people were seriously injured but expected to survive, while the other victim suffered minor injuries.

A police presence has been reported at Gateway Park, the Continental lounge, and Turnberry Tower. One of the victims ran to the bar and another to the condo building after being stabbed, leaving a trail of blood along the sidewalk, we’re told.

Eastbound Lee Highway and at least one lane of both N. Lynn Street and N. Nash Street were closed near the crime scene as a result of the investigation.

One suspect was in custody as of about 10:20 p.m., police said. An ACPD spokeswoman says the suspect in custody appears to have known at least one of the victims. There’s no word yet on a motive.

Police were still searching for other suspects with the assistance of the Fairfax County Police helicopter after the first suspect was detained, according to scanner traffic.

“One suspect is in custody and the investigation is ongoing to determine if any other individuals are involved,” said police spokeswoman Ashley Savage.

Separately, during the stabbing investigation, firefighters battled a reported townhouse fire on the 1400 block of N. Nash Street in Rosslyn, near the Iwo Jima memorial. The fire, on the roof of the townhomes, was quickly extinguished and did not extend to the interior of the building.

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(Updated at 1:30 p.m.) Firefighters have extinguished a fire at a townhouse on the 1500 block of N. Colonial Terrace in Rosslyn.

Fire department spokesman Capt. Ben O’Bryant said the fire was under control around 1:10 p.m. and that no one was injured. He told ARLnow that the department is now investigating what sparked the flames.

Crews on scene began retracting the ladders and taking apart the hoses shortly afterwards.

At 12:55 p.m., first responders reported that the fire appeared to be contained to the building’s outdoor balcony, and that they were working on extinguishing it.

Crews entered the building at around 12:45 p.m. after firefighters reported seeing smoke upon arriving at the scene. A 911 caller, who O’Bryant said was a neighbor, described “flames coming out of a French window,” per scanner traffic.

Photo (1) via Arlington County Fire Department, (2) via Google Maps

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A driver struck a man and a dog on Columbia Pike Tuesday evening.

The crash happened around 7 p.m. in the westbound lanes of the Pike near S. Barton Street, in front of the Penrose Square development.

An adult male and a dog were struck by a vehicle, confirmed Arlington County Fire Department spokesman Capt. Ben O’Bryant. Details about the circumstances around the crash were not immediately available.

The man was brought to a local hospital in good condition, said O’Bryant. The dog was taken to an animal hospital and its condition was not currently known, he said.

Update 9 a.m. — A man who says he was the one struck by the vehicle last night posted the following update on ARLnow’s Facebook page.

Hey all, my puppy yoda is doing alright. He was taken to south paws animal hospital last night with the help of some very amazing people. He broke his back femur. He’s going into surgery today and will be getting a plate put in. He should be okay but please send good vibes our way! I’m okay as well. Just got a little beaten up. Miraculously nothing was broken on my end. (Yes I know yoda is top priority). To clear things up he pulled on his leash and it escaped from my hand on the sidewalk. He b lined for the middle of the street (which is TOTALLY not like him.) I instinctively ran out after him into on coming traffic in effort to catch his [leash] before he got hit. This resulted in both of us being side swiped by a car who could not see us due to how low we were to the ground. This was no ones fault but ours. Thank you to all the wonderful people who helped us last night. If any of you see this that assisted please message me so I can personally thank you. The Arlington community, especially Columbia pike showed me incredible love. Yoda will be creating smiles again soon enough!

Photos courtesy John Antonelli

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A trash truck dumped a flaming load of garbage in the parking lot of Washington Golf and Country Club this afternoon, leading to lane closures on N. Glebe Road during the evening rush hour.

The incident was first reported shortly before 5 p.m. The contents of a Waste Management truck caught fire, prompting the driver to dump the load in the ritzy private club’s front parking lot.

Firefighters were eventually able to extinguish the slow-burning fire, from which a small plume of smoke was visible on a nearby traffic camera. Now the private trash collection company will have to figure out how to clean up the mountain of soggy, sometimes charred debris from the parking lot, along with the detritus that was washed down nearby N. Glebe Road.

Both northbound lanes of Glebe were temporarily blocked at Old Dominion Drive during the incident. One lane has since reopened.

Similar trash truck fires happened last year just off S. Glebe Road and in the Penrose neighborhood.

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Arlington County firefighters rescued a worker who fell and was injured at a home construction site in the Ballston area Monday afternoon.

The incident happened around 3 p.m. on the 1200 block of N. Taylor Street. Initial reports suggest a worker fell off a ladder and fell onto the home’s concrete foundation below ground, suffering a possible head injury.

Firefighters used a ladder truck and a Stokes basket to hoist the victim out from the construction site.

N. Taylor Street was closed to traffic from Washington Blvd to 13th Street N. due to the emergency activity.

Fire department spokesman Capt. Ben O’Bryant was unable to immediately confirm the nature of the injuries suffered by the victim, identified as an adult male construction worker, but said that he was being transported via ambulance to a local trauma center in “fair” condition.

Occupational safety investigators and the county fire marshal’s office were called to the scene, O’Bryant said.

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Posted by Arlington County Virginia – Government on Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Calling 911 isn’t always as simple as picking up the phone and dialing the numbers.

April is “911 Education Month,” so Arlington County put together some short guides for when and how someone should get in touch with emergency services.

For starters, those who are deaf, hard of hearing, unable to speak or in a situation where it’s unsafe to speak can use a Text to 911 service, which debuted in the county three years ago.

Users can enter 911 into the “to” or “recipient” field. In the message, include the location of the emergency and whether the police, fire or an ambulance is needed.

The dispatcher could follow up with questions and give instructions. Those using the text feature are asked to avoid abbreviations or slang and to keep the messages short.

In a video posted last week (above) 911 dispatchers Alexis Brown and Morgan Turner fielded questions about local emergency services. Both noted that one misconception is that 911 dispatchers track calls the way other smartphone apps can.

“Unlike Uber, we don’t have the ability to figure out where you are,” said Brown. “We have the ability to figure out closest cell tower to you,” but “if you can give us an address, a street that you’re on, closest business, any resources you have to assist us,” it could help first responders reach you faster.

Turner said the difference is in how emergency services track calls.

“Apps like Uber use wifi signals. We use cell towers,” said Turner. “So give us the address first. At the very least we can send someone your way. Beyond that: name, phone number, and what’s happening.”

Turner also said many people call 911 by accident and immediately hang up, but this causes some problems for dispatchers.

“Just stay on the line and tell us it’s not an emergency,” said Turner. “If you hang up, we have to assume there’s an emergency and we will call you back.”

Brown also said those who speak languages other than English shouldn’t feel discouraged about calling emergency services. Several dispatchers speak Spanish, and for more uncommon languages dispatch services have resources to get a translator on the line.

Whether or not to call 911 can sometimes be unclear, but Turner said an ongoing threat of harm is the dividing line.

“The line can seem blurry, lots of times people aren’t sure,” said Turner. “The way I always think of it: if there’s a threat of harm, like if someone might be hurt, like a person in a medical emergency or a fire.”

For situations that require police or the fire department that don’t quite rise to the level of a 911 call, Brown noted that the county’s non-emergency line can be reached at 703-558-2222.

All told, police responded to 76,295 calls from 911 in 2018, according to year-end report released today (Tuesday). The number indicates a steady drop from 78,330 calls in 2017, and 83,511 in 2016.

Photo via Arlington County

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Morning Notes

Brush Fire in Park Near Columbia Pike — “Firefighters were called to Alcova Park a little after noon today to put out this small fire. No word on cause, but it’s an early season reminder to fully extinguish smoking & BBQ’ing materials before safely discarding them in a metal container & leaving the area.” [Twitter]

‘Walk for the Animals’ Tickets on Sale — “On Saturday, June 8, 2019 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., AWLA invites you to Walk for the Animals and celebrate our 75th anniversary of improving the lives of animals in our community… $35 Early Bird registration until May 1 (includes Walk registration and t-shirt)” [Animal Welfare League of Arlington]

Traffic Enforcement in Clarendon — Arlington County Police conducted “high-visibility pedestrian enforcement at the intersection of N. Highland Street and Washington Boulevard as part of regional @COGStreetSmart campaign” yesterday afternoon. [Twitter, Twitter]

Arlington Resident Wins Lottery — “An Arlington man is $100,000 richer after playing a Cash 5 game he purchased at a store in the Fort Myer Heights neighborhood near Rosslyn recently.” [Patch]

Ebbin, Levine Endorse Parisa — State Sen. Adam Ebbin (D) and Del. Mark Levine (D) have endorsed Parisa Dehghani-Tafti, Democratic candidate for Commonwealth’s Attorney of Arlington County and the City of Falls Church. They join several other elected officials, including former Gov. Terry McAuliffe and former County Board member Walter Tejada, in endorsing the challenger in the Democratic primary. [Facebook, Blue Virginia]

Stamos’ Recent Endorsements — Earlier this month Commonwealth’s Attorney Theo Stamos announced endorsements from Arlington’s firefighter union and county treasurer Carla de la Pava in her bid for reelection, in addition to a litany of endorsements from other elected and former elected officials. [Facebook, Facebook]

Nearby: Aldi Coming to Bailey’s Crossroads — An Aldi grocery store will reportedly be replacing the former Babies R Us store at 5700 Columbia Pike, while a nearby Safeway store is said to be closing. [Annandale Blog]

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

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Update at 1 p.m. — Arlington County Police have released a crime report with more information on the incident.

ROBBERY, 2019-04210144, 2600 block of Columbia Pike. At approximately 5:13 p.m. on April 21, police were dispatched to the report of an armed robbery that just occurred. A male suspect allegedly entered a business, brandished a firearm, stole an undisclosed amount of cash and personal property from the victims before fleeing the scene. A responding officer observed the suspect vehicle and attempted a traffic stop on I-395 North at Boundary Channel. Once the officer exited his vehicle, the suspect fled the scene and a vehicle pursuit was initiated onto northbound George Washington Parkway. While on the George Washington Parkway, officers observed the suspect vehicle drive on the pedestrian path, turn around and begin driving southbound in the northbound lanes. At that time, the vehicle pursuit was terminated by police. The suspect continued to drive towards the Potomac River, exited the vehicle and attempted to flee the scene on foot. As the vehicle careened into the Potomac River, the suspect entered the water and attempted to swim but was subsequently taken into police custody. The suspect was transported to an area hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Freddie Lee McRae, 33, of Temple Hills, MD, was arrested and charged with Robbery, Felony Eluding, Use of a Firearm in Commission of a Felony and Possession of a Firearm by Convicted Felon.

Earlier: A robbery along Columbia Pike led to a police pursuit and a crash into the Potomac on Easter Sunday evening.

The incident started around 5:15 p.m. when a man armed with a gun robbed a business on the 2600 block of Columbia Pike — the same block as the CVS and the Domino’s Pizza.

The suspect “fled the scene with an undisclosed amount of cash” and drove off, but was spotted and pursued by police officers, according to Arlington County Police.

The chase continued to the northbound GW Parkway, where the suspect drove off the side of the road and crashed into the Potomac near I-395.

“Suspect was subsequently taken into police custody and transported to an area hospital with non-life threatening injuries,” ACPD said. “There are believed to be no outstanding suspects. No other injuries or property damage was reported. Police remain on scene investigating.”

Arlington County Police were assisted by the Arlington County Fire Department, U.S. Park Police, Virginia State Police, D.C. police and the U.S. Coast Guard in the incident and investigation. The northbound GW Parkway was temporarily closed following the crash, according to Arlington Alert.

Photo courtesy John Sonderman

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Morning Notes

Riding Amazon’s Coattails — “As Amazon.com Inc. builds and staffs up HQ2, other tech companies who orbit the online retailer could follow, according to a JBG Smith Properties investor presentation released Tuesday. ‘Amazon isn’t just 38,000 jobs,’ the JBG Smith documents say. ‘It’s a catalyst for significant growth.'” [Washington Business Journal]

Amazon Effect on Real Estate — “While the average sales price in Northern Virginia stayed steady at $565,000 in January, according to the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors, the number of homes under contract rose by 70 percent compared with January 2018, and the number of homes for sale fell by 20 percent year-over-year. Limited availability of homes drives prices higher.” [Washington Post]

More Details on Rosslyn Holiday Inn Plan — “New renderings also show that the [Rosslyn Holiday Inn redevelopment] is set to include a ‘public gallery,’ providing an east-west connection through the property between Fort Myer Drive and N. Nash Street. The space would be bookended by public plazas and provide access to the development’s retail offerings.” [Washington Business Journal]

ACFD Safety Initiative Kicks Off — “Beginning Sat., April 6, 2019, and continuing through Sat., Oct. 5, 2019, Arlington County firefighters will be going door to door offering home safety checks to include inspecting smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms and giving relevant fire safety tips.” [Arlington County]

Va. AG Sues Over Trump Wall — “‘President Trump is flagrantly disregarding the law in his quest to justify his fake national emergency and build a needless border wall,’ said Attorney General Herring. ‘He is trying to unlawfully divert resources that law enforcement agencies in Virginia and around the country need for their actual work, and his larger plan could threaten half a billion dollars in military construction projects around Virginia.'” [Blue Virginia]

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(Updated at 4:30 p.m.) Firefighters from Arlington, Fairfax County and Alexandria are on scene of a high-rise fire in Bailey’s Crossroads, near the Arlington border.

The fire was reported around 10:00 a.m. at the Skyline Plaza condo tower at 3705 S. George Mason Drive. A second alarm — including a “strike force” and multiple ladder trucks and medic units from Arlington County — was dispatched to the scene.

Fairfax County Fire and Rescue says a power transformer caught fire next to the building, but smoke from the blaze wafted inside the structure. Dominion Power has been working with firefighters to cut power to the transformer and the building, according to scanner traffic.

The bottom floors of the 26-story tower filled with smoke and firefighters have been working to evacuate the entire building, including at least a dozen residents who have called to request assistance when evacuating, according to scanner traffic. At least one injury has been reported from a resident falling down a flight of stairs.

Evacuees are being housed in the other tower of the condo complex, the fire department said. The American Red Cross is responding to the scene to assist displaced residents.

The response has prompted the Arlington County Department to “[bring] in some units from our regional partners to maintain Fire/EMS coverage in Arlington County while the incident in Fairfax is ongoing.”

Photos via @ffxfirerescue

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