Next SafeTrack Surge Begins Tomorrow — Metro’s ninth SafeTrack maintenance “surge” will begin tomorrow and will result in single-tracking between the Vienna and West Falls Church station on the Orange Line through Oct. 26. Riders should expect longer wait times on the Orange Line; in Arlington, the East Falls Church station is expected to experience the worst delays. [DCist, NBC Washington]
Fire Dept. to Donate to AWLA — Arlington County fire stations collected more than 650 pounds of pet supplies and food during ‘Operation FirePaws.’ The items will be donated to the Animal Welfare League of Arlington. [Arlington County]
Additions for Phoenix House — Following a successful capital fundraising campaign, substance abuse rehabilitation facility Phoenix House, in Ballston, will be adding a new fitness and health center and expanding and renovating its adolescent boys program.
A History of the Balls — ‘Our Man in Arlington’ columnist recounts the history of the Ball family, local landowners since the Revolutionary War and the namesakes for Arlington’s Ballston neighborhood. [Falls Church News-Press]
Photo courtesy Noah Kaufman
The blaze was reported just after 10:15 a.m. on the B1 level of the Waterview building garage, at 1919 N. Lynn Street. The building is home to companies like CEB and Deloitte.
As of 10:35 a.m., firefighters on the scene reported that they had the fire under control. Sprinklers in the garage helped to keep it contained, according to scanner traffic.
Two people are being evaluated for possible injuries.
Firefighters are currently checking to make sure the fire didn’t spread to other levels. They’re also assessing smoke conditions in the garage.
Between the fire and lane closures due to construction, drivers should expect significant traffic delays on Lynn Street in Rosslyn.
(Updated at 10:20 p.m.) A fire broke out in the basement of a house in Arlington’s Williamsburg neighborhood tonight.
Firefighters were dispatched to the home, on the 6200 block of 30th Street N., shortly before 9 p.m. Fire was reported in the basement, with extension to the first floor of the house.
The fire was brought under control within about 15 minutes. There were no reports of injuries but extensive damage, including a collapsed floor, was reported.
— Arlington Fire (@ACFDPIO) August 31, 2016
— LincolnACFD (@LincolnACFD) August 31, 2016
*WORKING FIRE* 6200 BLK N. 30th St. E106 with heavy fire from a basement w/ extension to 1st floor.
— ACFD Firefighters (@IAFF2800) August 31, 2016
*UPDATE* 6200 BLK N. 30th St. Fire knocked. Searches negative. Extensive overhaul w/ floor collapses on #1 floor. #ACFD
— ACFD Firefighters (@IAFF2800) August 31, 2016
#Update: Fire has been knocked down and searches on all floors were negative. RIT Level 1 on scene.
— Arlington Fire (@ACFDPIO) August 31, 2016
Photos courtesy Andrew Pang, @LincolnACFD
Crash Closes 395 Ramp — A multi-vehicle crash closed the ramp from northbound I-395 to northbound Washington Blvd during this morning’s rush hour. The ramp reopened just after 9 a.m. [Arlington County, Twitter]
Metro Delays This Morning — There were delays on the Yellow, Orange and Silver lines this morning due to “unscheduled track repairs.” [Washington Post]
Jefferson Davis Highway Name Change? — The Virginia attorney general’s office has determined that Alexandria can legally change the name of Jefferson Davis Highway in the city, while Arlington cannot remove the Confederate leader’s name from Route 1. One local lawmaker says he wants the name to change, for various reasons, but adds that he doesn’t have a problem with routes named after Robert E. Lee. [InsideNova, InsideNova]
Flickr pool photo by Alan Kotok
A busy street in Ballston has been closed due to a strong odor of natural gas coming from a manhole.
N. Randolph Street is closed between N. Glebe Road and Wilson Blvd, near the Ballston Common Mall demolition site. Several businesses on the Glebe Road side of Randolph have been evacuated.
Washington Gas crews are en route to try to stop the leak.
Update at 4:50 p.m. — One lane of northbound Glebe Road has been reopened, but major backups on Glebe are being reported.
Update at 4:30 p.m. — Firefighters say they’ve located the likely source of the smoke, in a mechanical room. No fire was found. Units are starting to clear from the scene.
Arlington County firefighters have shut down Glebe Road at Wilson Blvd as they investigate why the second floor of the Ballston Common Mall Macy’s store has filled with smoke.
Numerous fire department units are responding to the scene, but so far the source of the smoke has not been found. No flames have been seen and firefighters are checking the building’s HVAC system.
Drivers should expect traffic impacts in the area.
— LincolnACFD (@LincolnACFD) August 17, 2016
Investigators believe the small fire, inside a bathroom at the Inova Urgent Care clinic (3263 Columbia Pike) was an act of arson. And it may be part of a string of intentionally-set small fires.
Arlington County firefighters responded to several suspicious small fires Sunday and Monday, including two set 20 minutes apart.
“There have been an uptick in small fires in the county,” said Lt. Jason Hart. “We have not tied them together yet, it’s still under investigation.”
After Monday’s bathroom fire, Arlington police put out a lookout call for a woman with a facial hair, who was suspected of setting the fire. Based on the description relayed over the radio, the woman was detained and questioned, but was ultimately released due to lack of evidence, Hart said.
The incident happened around 2 p.m. on the 2000 block of N. Inglewood Street, in the Tara-Leeway Heights community. Initial reports suggest the worker fell at least 6 feet into some sort of a trench.
State occupational health and safety officials were called to the scene following the accident.
The victim was transported to the trauma center at George Washington University Hospital, an Arlington County Fire Department spokesman said.
File photo via Google Maps
Several of the original firefighters of Arlington’s Fire Station 8 were glad to see that the Arlington County Board abandoned a plan to relocate the station, instead voting in favor of rebuilding it on its current site.
Fire Station 8 was the only station in segregated Arlington with black firefighters during the 1950s and 60s. Those firefighters had to work hard just to keep the station running — due to a lack of county funding, they would hold cookouts to raise funds for equipment.
“The community got together, and they sold dinners, fish dinners, chili dinners, chicken dinners, and… they made enough money to buy all the materials and things for a barracks,” recalled Marguarite Gooden, a local resident.
After working on a volunteer basis for years, Captain Hartman Reed and Firefighter Carl Cooper were two of the first three firefighters at Station 8 to receive pay for their work, starting in the early 1950s. (White Arlington firefighters started receiving salaries about a decade earlier.)
Reed and Cooper still live in Arlington, right behind the fire station. They spoke to ARLnow.com about their thoughts on the station’s relocation.
“I just thought, well, it was very wrong about trying to move it out,” Cooper said. “If anything, they should enlarge it and let it remain here.”
In 2014, the fire chief recommended — based on a 2012 consultant’s report — that Fire Station 8 be moved north of its current location to reduce response times for the northern communities. A county-owned parcel of land near Marymount University seemed like a prime candidate.
Captain Reed found that recommendation a little odd, especially given that there was more population density — and thus, more calls — along Lee Highway.
“I recall when I was in Station 8, how few calls we ran up into that [northern] area, and the difference in the calls we ran,” Reed said. “I don’t think the fire department could prove, even though it was a longer run, that they were needed more in that northern area, then they were in the Lee Highway corridor.”
Reed theorized that one of the underlying reasons for the move may have been a desire to place low income housing on the current fire station site. Cooper said he thought “maybe they wanted to get it away from this community” due to some sort of prejudice.
The recommendation to move the station was met with much resistance from both the historically black community surrounding the station’s current site and the community surrounding the stations’s proposed new location.
Kitty Clark Stevenson, the daughter of Alfred Clark — another one of the first paid firefighters at Station 8 — explained that the community felt they were included in the process only after a top-level decision had already seemingly been made.
“We were not respected as a community by the leadership in this county government, which for us was a violation of the Arlington Way,” she said.
Gooden, who is Captain Reed’s daughter, also found that upsetting.
“The thing that outraged me was… we weren’t engaged in the conversation at all,” she said.
After numerous county meetings and the creation of a task force, the county finally decided against relocating the station. Instead, the existing station will be knocked down and a new, larger Fire Station 8 will be built on its current site, which many in the community describe as historic.
“I was excited to hear that it would… remain where it is,” Cooper said. “Very much elated,” Reed agreed.
Gooden was also pleased that the building was being redone.
“I’m excited about them getting the best, the best technology, the best facility,” she said. “And they will better be able to serve the dynamic, very densely populated Arlington.”
Throughout the month of August, the Arlington County Fire Department will be holding a donation drive for pet supplies.
Items on the shelter’s need list include canned pet food, collars, toys, and office supplies. AWLA has requested no Milk Bones, boxed hard treats or handmade items.
The items can be dropped off at the following fire stations:
- Fire Station 2 at 4805 Wilson Blvd
- Fire Station 3 at 4100 Old Dominion Drive
- Fire Station 5 at 1750 S Hayes Street
- Fire Station 6 at 6950 Little Falls Road
- Fire Station 7 at 3116 S. Abingdon Street
- Fire Station 9 at 1900 S. Walter Reed Drive
Donation bins will be in the lobby of each fire station and items can be dropped off from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Donations collected before August 27 will be presented to the AWLA at its Wags n Whiskers event in Shirlington however donations will be collected until August 31.
Photo Courtesy of ACFD
Update at 6:55 p.m. — The leak has been stopped and ACFD units have now left the scene.
Arlington County firefighters are on the scene of a major gas leak in the Virginia Square area.
Initial reports suggest that construction crews at the Latitude Apartments site, on the 3600 block of Fairfax Drive, across from the Metro station, hit and severed a three-inch gas line.
Police were called to the scene to block traffic around the gas leak.
(Updated at 2:40 p.m.) A construction vehicle is currently draped with downed power lines near Virginia Square.
The incident occurred shortly before noon at 3700 6th Road N. as the truck was being hauled through the Ashton Heights neighborhood.
Firefighters and police were called to the scene and currently have the sidewalk and the road closed for safety, as the lines were believed to be live electrical lines.
No injures were reported, but at least one neighboring home was reportedly damaged.
— William Ponds (@wponds) July 26, 2016
Update at 8:15 p.m. — “We traced the discoloration to an active construction site, which is the likely source,” said Arlington DES spokeswoman Jessica Baxter. “A light-colored sediment had discharged from the site and into the storm drain system.”
Why did this stretch of Four Mile Run turn yellow?
That’s a question officials with Arlington County’s Dept. of Environmental Services are trying to answer.
The Arlington County Fire Department was called to investigate a yellow substance in a portion of the stream behind The Brittany condominium complex at 4500 S Four Mile Run Drive around 2:35 p.m. this afternoon.
Though the firefighters concluded the mysterious discoloration is not hazardous, the substance has county officials scratching their heads.
“We don’t know how long it had been there,” said DES staffer Mark Wisdom. “We can’t make a determination until we can find the source.”
Wisdom said he planned to search for discarded paint cans or other substances near the creek.
Photos and additional reporting by Lindsay Smith
The 4-1 decision was made as part of the Board’s deliberation on the adoption of the county’s proposed Capital Improvement Plan (CIP), which includes the replacement of Fire Station 8.
The sole dissenter in yesterday’s vote was County Board Chair Libby Garvey, who argued that building the station on 26th Street N. and Old Dominion Drive near Marymount University would serve more residents by reducing the amount of time it would take for the fire department to respond to calls north of Lee Highway.
Garvey’s argument mirrored what supporters of the relocation have said in the plan’s defense.
“Far and away the most important criteria about where we site the fire station is getting as many people as possible that can be reached as quickly as possible in an emergency,” Garvey said. “If we move it further north, we can get more people we can reach in time in an emergency. It really may mean life and death.”
Other board members, such as Christian Dorsey argued that the current location, along busy Lee Highway, better serves the needs of the majority of calls to the fire department than a lower density location like 26th Street.
“It’s pretty clear that we should keep the fire station at its current location in order to meet people where they actually are, recognizing that the greatest number of calls required of our fire and EMS crews is to help people with EMS distress,” Dorsey explained. “It’s a crapshoot. There’s no way we can guarantee what’s going to happen in the future but if I’m going to have to make an allocation based on our best judgment and best data, it’s got to be where people are… versus static residences that are only used for a certain portion of the day.”
Board member John Vihstadt pointed to future development in the area as reasons to keep the fire station at its current location.
“We just approved a large new Ballston corridor development, which is serviced by the station closest to it, Fire Station 2 at George Mason and Wilson Blvd,” he said. “Fire stations south of Fire Station 8 are going to be increasingly called upon to deal with the increased density that is looming in our future.”
Vihstadt also said the location of Virginia Hospital Center played into his decision. “Why would we degrade service for so many to marginally improve service for a much fewer number?” he concluded.
Further planning on the new station will begin next year. Construction is scheduled to begin in the spring of 2019, according to a press release from Arlington County. While the construction is underway, the fire department will operate from an interim station for two years at a location that has not yet been determined, officials said.
The Board directed the County Manager to determine possible locations and expected costs for the temporary fire station by the end of 2016. The added costs of keeping the station on Lee Highway are expected to total several million dollars.
The new fire station will be ready for operations in spring 2021, according to county officials.
A car slammed through the front of the 7-Eleven store at 3901 Lee Highway in Cherrydale Friday night.
The crash happened just before 10 p.m. No injuries were reported.
This morning the large plate glass window shattered by the car was boarded up, awaiting replacement.
— John (@JohnVasapoli) July 16, 2016
— Arlington Fire (@ACFDPIO) July 16, 2016