Arlington, VA

(Updated at 10 a.m.) Firefighters are on scene of a possible apartment fire at the River Place residential complex in Rosslyn.

Heavy smoke was reported on a lower floor of one of the high-rise buildings, on the 1000 block of Arlington Blvd. A second alarm was dispatched as a precaution, according to scanner traffic.

“Expect a large fire department response in the area,” ACFD said via social media.

Firefighters investigating the source of the smoke now believe it was from a small kitchen fire, which has since been extinguished.

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(Updated at 3:20 p.m.) The Arlington County Fire Department is working to mitigate a chemical odor and sheen on Four Mile Run near Barcroft Park.

The department has been providing updates about the hazmat incident on social media, saying Thursday afternoon that the source was a leaking underground oil tank along Columbia Pike near the Fairfax County border.

“We are working with our neighboring jurisdictions and the State to mitigate the situation,” ACFD said via Twitter. “The HazMat Team has taken steps in @ArlingtonVA County to minimize the effects on the environment.”

In the meantime, ACFD says people and pets should stay away from Four Mile Run downstream of Columbia Pike.

“Please keep all pets out of Four Mile Run until the #HazMat situation can be full mitigated,” the fire department added. The stream runs past the Shirlington dog park, where dog owners frequently let their pups off leash to go for a swim.

More from an Arlington County press release:

Residents and visitors are advised to avoid contact with — and keep their pets out of — Four Mile Run downstream of Columbia Pike for the next 24 to 48 hours.

At 6:29 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 31, Arlington County Hazmat Crews were dispatched to the 4200 block of S. Four Mile Run Drive for a chemical odor. The Arlington County Fire Department and the Arlington Department of Environmental Services determined that the source originated upstream of Arlington County, in a neighboring jurisdiction. Crews placed boom filtering devices in the water at various locations along Four Mile Run to contain the released product.

Public, pets, should stay out of Four Mile Run

People should not fish in the stream or have any contact with the water until further notice from the County. The advisory to avoid all contact is considered an extra precaution to allow the effect of the discharge to be diminished by natural flushing of the streams. Drinking water is not affected by the incident.

Anyone who has been in Four Mile Run and is experiencing medical symptoms, such as sore throat or eye irritation, should seek medical attention.

NOTE: The public is  reminded that stream water can contain microorganisms that can make people sick, whether the stream is located in an urban area or in the middle of a forest. Even after the discharge is naturally flushed from the streams, the County’s normal precautions for safe use of streams apply. You can find information and safety tips on Arlington streams, including information on reporting stream pollution incidents, on the Department of Environmental Service website.

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Morning Notes

Renegade Opening Today — “The Renegade, the new two-story coffee shop, restaurant, and live music venue from chef Patrick Crump is opening this Thursday, Oct. 24 at 3100 Clarendon Blvd. in Arlington.” [Press Release]

Hoskins Questions Amazon’s Arlington Location — “[Fairfax County Economic Development Authority CEO Victor] Hoskins helped land corporate giant Amazon for Arlington, but now says the company probably should have located in Fairfax County, with its larger, more diverse, pro-business environment. The county’s 120 million-square-foot office market is three times larger than Arlington’s, he noted.” [InsideNova]

ACFD Collects Supplies for Shelters — “More than 1600 pounds of supplies for shelter animals have been collected by Arlington County firefighters in the past four years in what has been dubbed ‘Operation Firepaws,’ with the donations going to the Animal Welfare League of Arlington.” [WJLA]

Nats Rally at Long Branch ES on TV — “The students and teachers at Long Branch Elementary School in Arlington, Virginia [were] showing off their Natitude” during a rally on Wednesday. The Nats won big last night, by the way. [Fox 5]

Century-Old Sentinel Gets Big Welcome at DCA — “This morning we welcomed Jack, the oldest living retired Sentinel at 100 years young, on a special trip to DC to see his name posted on a plaque of the Wall of Honor in the barracks. Jack danced his way off the flight and into everyone’s hearts.” [Twitter, CBS News]

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After months of debate on its fate, Arlington County has made the decision to permanently shutter Fire Station 7 in Fairlington.

County Manager Mark Schwartz made the call to close the station following recommendations from both the Arlington County Fire Department and the Arlington Department of Environmental Services, per a press release.

“This was not an easy decision, because we know the community has had a special relationship with Fire Station 7 — affectionately known as “The Little House” — and its personnel for more than half a century,” Schwartz said a statement.

According to the release, there would only be room for one emergency vehicle if the county were to renovate the station — which goes against the county’s latest fire station design standards for housing multiple vehicles.

Additionally, the renovated station would not have enough space to meet proper health and safety standards.

“Asking taxpayers to pay for rebuilding a station that doesn’t move us forward in meeting our community’s growing needs would not be fiscally responsible,” Schwartz said.

The station, located 3116 S. Abingdon Street in the middle of the mostly residential Fairlington neighborhood, shut down last October after fire personnel heard “creaking noises” in the station’s ceiling and it was deemed structurally unsafe. Its status was  “temporarily closed” until yesterday (Thursday).

During an audit meeting in August regarding the use of overtime in the fire department, County Board Vice Chair Libby Garvey noted that 60 percent of the station’s runs were to Alexandria and Fairfax, given its location in the county’s southwestern tip.

The county is still in the early stages of scouting for a site for a new fire station to serve Columbia Pike. Schwartz recently suggested that the eastern end of Columbia Pike would be a desirable location.

In lieu of Fire Station 7, county officials say the following stations will help serve the Fairlington area:

  • Fire Station 9: 1900 S. Walter Reed Drive, Arlington
  • Fire Station 203: 2801 Cameron Mills Road, Alexandria
  • Fire Station 206: 4609 Seminary Road, Alexandria
  • Fire Station 410: 3601 Firehouse Lane, Bailey’s Crossroads (Fairfax)

Arlington County is “developing a process to determine future use” of the Fire Station 7 site, the press release says. It will not be used for fire department purposes, an ACFD spokesman told ARLnow.

The full press release is below, after the jump.

Read More

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The Arlington County Board may soon move forward on the plan to redevelop the Fire Station 8.

The County Board is scheduled to vote on awarding several contracts for the project to replace the Hall’s Hill fire station with a new, 15,000-square-foot facility during their meeting next Tuesday, October 22.

The station, located at 4845 Lee Highway, has been slated for a facelift for years, with the Board approving a $1.1 million contract to begin the design and planning process this past winter.

Next week, members will consider awarding a contract for the design of the temporary station used while Station 8 is under construction to Reston architecture firm LeMay Erickson Wilcox — the same firm tapped for designing the permanent Fire Station 8.

On Tuesday, Board members will also vote on awarding another contract to D.C.-based construction MCN Build, Inc. to build the new station. The exact amount of the contract has not yet been posted on the county website.

Plans for building the temporary station called for knocking down two homes at 2211 and 2215 N. Culpeper Street — demolition work that began last fall. The homes have been earmarked for use as a staging station area for the first responders since the county purchased the land for $1.6 million three years ago.

This year, the station celebrated its 100th anniversary, marking the legacy of the station which was the firehouse in segregated Arlington serving the historically African-American Hall’s Hill neighborhood — which itself was walled off from a neighboring, white neighborhood until the 1960s.

Originally, the fire department asked to relocate the new station further north to keep response times low in residential portions of far northern Arlington. However, the Board voted to keep the new station on the same site in 2016 in anticipation of more development along Lee Highway, pleasing the retired first responders who had worked at Station 8.

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(Updated at 4:15 p.m.) A rescue operation is underway on the GW Parkway, after a vehicle reportedly overturned, trapping the driver.

The incident was first reported around 3 p.m. in the southbound lanes of the Parkway, near the Humpback Bridge — just north of I-395.

Initial reports suggest the vehicle flipped onto its side, trapping at least one person inside. Firefighters were working to stabilize the vehicle and rescue its occupant.

Drivers should expect significant backups in both the northbound and southbound lanes of the Parkway, which are reported to be blocked approaching the crash scene.

As of 3:30 p.m., the victim had been freed from the vehicle and was soon to be transported via ambulance to a local hospital. As of 4:15 p.m., all lanes had reopened.

Photo via Google Maps

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Morning Notes

Arlington Woman Sues Moby Dick House of Kabob — “An Arlington woman is suing Moby Dick House of Kabob after a salmonella outbreak related to hummus made at least 17 people sick in Maryland and Virginia since September 10.” [WTOP, Bethesda Magazine]

Driver Cited for Striking Cars at McKinley Elementary — Per an Arlington County Police spokeswoman: “At approximately 4:28 p.m. on October 3, police were dispatched to the 1000 block of McKinley Road for the report of a hit and run just occurred. Upon arrival, it was determined that the driver of the striking vehicle hit three unoccupied parked vehicles in the parking lot. The driver of the vehicle was identified, the incident was determined to be a medical emergency and the driver of the striking vehicle was issued a summons for violation of Arlington County code § 14.2-17 Vehicle to be Kept Under Control.”

Arlington: Too Crowded for Some — Arlington has “grown crowded enough to prompt even deep-rooted residents to escape ever farther out to nature. Take my friends Tim and Beth Reese… They’re now ensconced on a 77-acre grow-your-own-organic-food farm a 90-minute drive out in Capon Bridge, West Virginia (pop. 371).” [Falls Church News-Press]

Fire Prevention Week Reminders — “It’s Fire Prevention Week, and this year the Arlington County Fire Department and fire departments across the country are working to educate their communities about the small but important actions everyone can take to keep themselves and those around them safe.” [Arlington County]

Nearby: Amazon Opening Store in D.C. — “Amazon.com Inc. is preparing to grow its brick-and-mortar retail presence along one of D.C.’s growing retail corridors: 14th Street NW.” [Washington Business Journal, PoPville]

Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman

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(Updated at 2:45 p.m.) Firefighters are on scene of an apartment fire at the Quincy Plaza apartments in Virginia Square.

The fire was first reported just after 2 p.m., on the 12th floor of the apartment tower at 3900 Fairfax Drive. The fire is reported to now be out, controlled at least in part via a sprinkler system.

Firefighters are now checking for additional fire, smoke and water damage in adjacent apartments. Water can be seen streaming down the side of the building near where the fire was reported, and “extensive” water damage is being reported in parts of the building, according to scanner traffic.

No word yet on what caused the fire.

Police are also on the scene, helping to provide traffic control with the eastbound lanes of Fairfax Drive closed by the emergency response.

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A man fell and was injured in a house that was reported to be undergoing renovations in the Bluemont neighborhood.

The incident happened around 1:30 p.m. Thursday afternoon, on the 5700 block of 5th Street N. Initial reports suggested a man fell through a hole in the floor and landed in the basement below, suffering both upper- and lower-body injuries in the process.

A large technical rescue response was dispatched to the home, though the situation did not ultimately require an extensive rescue operation. Medics transported the man via ambulance to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries, the Arlington County Fire Department said in a subsequent tweet.

“Male victim fell approximately 10 ft to a hard surface suffering non-life threatening injuries,” ACFD said. “Fire/EMS carried him to a waiting ambulance and transported to the trauma center.”

File photo

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(Updated at 8:40 p.m.) An “electrical emergency” — reportedly a utility pole being burned by a malfunctioning power line — has prompted an extended road closure in Virginia Square.

Police have closed 14th Street between N. Lincoln Street and N. Kirkwood Road, near Arlington Science Focus Elementary School, to both vehicular and pedestrian traffic.

“It was just called in and it is a very dangerous situation,” a firefighter could be heard telling a resident along N. Kirkwood Road around 4:30 p.m. “We don’t know how long it will be closed. It could take one hour or six, we don’t know.”

Dominion Energy crews are on scene to work on the line and the pole.

As of 8:30 p.m., 26 Dominion customers in the neighborhood were reported to still be without power.

Map via Google Maps

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Bryce Harper saw his postseason prospects go up in smoke yesterday at the hands of his long-time former team, but the strikeout-prone Phillies slugger was gracious enough to pose with some Arlington firefighters afterward.

Firefighters were dispatched to the Pentagon City Ritz-Carlton hotel around 12:30 a.m. today (Wednesday) to assist with a stuck elevator, according to ACFD spokesman Capt. Justin Tirelli. After freeing those in the elevator, they happened upon Philadelphia stars Bryce Harper and Jake Arrieta in the lobby and asked for a photo with the former Nat and one-time Rosslyn resident.

Harper obliged, taking a photo with two firefighters outside the Ritz, where visiting pro sports teams often stay when in town.

“In Arlington, you’ll never know who you will run into on the street,” ACFD said in a tweet this morning. “Firefighters from A-shift handled a stuck elevator call and happened to recognize @bryceharper3, who happily posed for a pic. Bryce — Sorry about the loss, but thanks for being a good sport!”

Harper and the 79-78 Phillies are set to face the now-playoff-bound Nationals again in D.C. tonight at 7:05 p.m.

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