ACFD Vaxed to the Max — “Of the public safety departments surveyed by the I-Team, the Arlington County Fire Department has the most vaccinated, with 82 percent of its roughly 360 employees receiving the shot. Alexandria’s fire department, Frederick County, Maryland’s fire department and Montgomery County police are close behind, reporting about 70 percent of their members vaccinated.” [NBC 4]
Law Enforcement Memorial Day — Today starting at 8 a.m. “[t]he Arlington County Police Department and the Arlington County Sheriff’s Office will host a virtual Observance of Peace Officers Memorial Day to honor and pay tribute to the memory of Arlington’s seven fallen law enforcement officers.” [ACPD]
Covid Testing for APS Athletes — “Beginning the week of May 10, APS will begin providing daily free COVID-19 testing for student athletes. The testing is optional and will be conducted at the three comprehensive high schools with written parent/guardian consent. These efforts are put in place to prevent and mitigate transmission of COVID-19 among athletes.” [Arlington Public Schools]
DJO Grad to Kick for UNC — “Bishop O’Connell High School graduate and Great Falls resident Ethan Torres played four years of college football for Bucknell University as a place-kicker, and now will play a fifth season this coming fall for University of North Carolina at Charlotte as a graduate transfer student.” [Sun Gazette]
Runners Enjoy Rainy Crystal City 5K — “They lined up in waves, socially distanced for The Great Inflatable Race: Pacers 5k in National Landing. Only 250 runners instead of the normal 1,500… ‘This is one small step toward normalization,’ says runner Ian Squires.” [WJLA]
Jeopardy Asks Arlington Question — “We made Jeopardy! again. From last Friday. Category was A Whopp’ington’ of a City.” [Twitter]
Nearby: Mosque Knife Incident — “A Falls Church man is under arrest and faces charges after Fairfax County, Virginia, police said he pointed a knife at several people in a Seven Corners mosque.” [WTOP, Annandale Blog]
Va. May Lift Most Restrictions Next Month — “Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said Thursday the state could lift most of its COVID-19 pandemic restrictions by mid-June, about 14 months after the state initially put those measures in place to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus. Northam said the state is planning to do away with social distancing requirements and restrictions on gathering sizes on June 15, provided coronavirus cases continue to drop and the pace of vaccinations does not let up.” [DCist, InsideNova]
Allegations of Hazing at ACFD Academy — “Over a year ago, firefighter EMT recruit Brett Ahern alleged extreme bullying and hazing at the hands of one firefighter who was an instructor with the Arlington County Fire Department’s Training Academy… there were other victims. Witnesses are speaking out on the condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation.” [WDVM]
Mask Mandate for APS Athletes Questioned — From Sun Gazette Editor Scott McCaffrey’s blog: “Based on feedback we’ve been getting from our sources in the high-school-sports world, Arlington Public Schools has become something of a punching-bag of ridicule for its ongoing policy of requiring student-athletes to wear masks even in situations where it not only serves no good.” [Sun Gazette]
Woman Flees Knife-Wielding Robbers — “The female victim was outside her parked vehicle when she was approached by two male suspects. Suspect One brandished a knife and demanded her cell phone and money. The victim then ran to and entered her vehicle without providing any of her belongings. The suspects fled the scene when a witness approached the vehicle.” [ACPD]
Internal Pick for County Planning Director — “Arlington County has selected Anthony Fusarelli, Jr. to be the County’s new Planning Director after a nationwide search…. Fusarelli has worked in the County’s Department of Community Planning, Housing, and Development for 15 years and most recently served as Assistant Director. In this role he was responsible for development agreements and land deals, strategic initiatives, and demographic and development data research and analysis.” [Arlington County]
Warning About Rabid Cat in Falls Church — “The City of Falls Church Police and the Fairfax County Health Department are urging anyone who may have been bitten or scratched by a cat in the last fourteen days that matches the below description to please contact either agency immediately.” [City of Falls Church]
Bob & Edith’s Opening in Alexandria — “Bob & Edith’s Diner will open on King Street later this year, the company confirmed on Wednesday. The diner will take the place of Ernie’s Original Crab House, which closed in April, at 1743 King St. just a few hundred feet from the King Street Metro station.” [Alexandria Living Magazine]
(Updated at 9:55 p.m.) The Arlington County Fire Department doesn’t just untangle flags from national monuments. It also rescues parakeets that have flown the coop.
Yesterday evening the fire department received a “public service” call for a prized sun parakeet that was stuck in a tree. The bird’s owner was out on a walk with her avian companion when “the bird was spooked by a dog and flew into a tree and did not come down,” ACFD spokesman Taylor Blunt tells ARLnow. She called the fire department after running out of options for getting the bird down.
The crew of Truck 106 responded and used the fire engine’s ladder to gently grab the bird from its perch above a house, bringing it back to its grateful owner.
“As firefighters, we never know what our day will be like!” the fire department said on social media this morning. “Happy to help.”
“This was an interesting run for us,” Blunt added.
The bird rescue happened around the same time as other ACFD crews were battling an apartment fire on the 1300 block of N. Pierce Street in the Radnor/Fort Myer Heights neighborhood, near Rosslyn. No injuries were reported as a result of the fire.
As other units were battling an apartment fire in Rosslyn yesterday, the crew from T106 was called to assist a prized sun conure down from a tree. As firefighters, we never know what our day will be like! Happy to help. pic.twitter.com/RDhHM9NK3G
— Arlington Fire & EMS (@ArlingtonVaFD) May 6, 2021
#Update The fire is out and units are checking for extension. All occupants were able to get out of the apartment and there were no injuries to civilians or firefighters. Units will be clearing the scene within the next 30 minutes.
— Arlington Fire & EMS (@ArlingtonVaFD) May 5, 2021
Photo courtesy ACFD
Arlington County firefighters answer the call when someone is in need of help in Arlington. This weekend they provided an assist to a group of legendary Rosslyn area residents cast in bronze.
Friday’s windstorm tangled the flag atop the Marine Corps War Memorial, also known as the Iwo Jima memorial. To help fix it, the fire department at neary Fort Myer requested the assistance of ACFD and its extra-long ladder truck.
“Captain Shawn Pendo, officer in charge of Tower 104, was called on Sunday morning by the Fort Myer Fire Department requesting assistance to fix the flag at the Marine Corps Memorial in Rosslyn,” fire department spokesman Taylor Blunt tells ARLnow. “Captain Pendo quickly rounded up his crew for the special mission.”
“Once they arrived, Firefighter Kristin Pardiny positioned the bucket for her crew to disentangle and inspect the flag’s halyard,” Blunt continued. “The operation was done in under 30 minutes with no damage found.”
It’s not the first time ACFD has been called upon for such a task. But it’s never routine and always an honor, Blunt said.
“Captain Pendo recalled only one other time that Tower 104 was requested to assist with the flag,” said Blunt. “[Pendo] and his crew were honored to fix our nation’s colors at such a hallowed landmark.”
When we're not running emergency calls or training, we find other ways to help the community. Yesterday Tower 104 assisted the @USMC with fixing the flag at the Marine Corps War Memorial following Friday's storm. Thanks to Tom for capturing these photos! https://t.co/7YcU8EzKky
— Arlington Fire & EMS (@ArlingtonVaFD) May 3, 2021
Sentencing in Arlington Cold Case — “A Virginia cold case closed Thursday as Jose Rodriguez-Cruz was sentenced to 40 years in prison in Stafford County for the killing of his wife. Marta Rodriguez went missing from Arlington in 1989, when her son, Hansel Rodriguez, was just four years old… ‘It almost felt like I was able to breathe for the first time in many years,’ said Hansel, now 36.” [NBC 4]
Wheel Theft Spree Along Columbia Pike — “On April 7, police responded to multiple reports of larcenies from auto. The investigations determined that between 6:30 p.m. on April 6 and 7:35 a.m. April 7, the suspect(s) removed all four tires and rims from the four victim vehicles. There is no suspect(s) description. The investigation is ongoing.” [ACPD]
DCA Traveler Traffic Recovering — “The U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) reports that passenger originations at Reagan National were down 68.9 percent in March compared to the pre-pandemic March 2019. In a way, that’s positive news – Reagan National typically has been down 80 percent even as airports in other parts of the country have started to see rebounds.” [Sun Gazette]
ACFD Salutes Fallen Officer — From the Arlington County Fire Department: “[On Wednesday] we detailed crews along the I-66 overpasses to salute fallen @CapitolPolice Officer Billy Evans as his procession passed through @ArlingtonVA. Doing this twice within a few months hurts. We’re keeping Officer Evan’s family and the USCP in our thoughts & prayers.” [Twitter]
Firefighters Push for Higher Pay — Updated at 8:45 a.m. — “Brian Lynch, president of the Arlington Professional Firefighters and Paramedics Association (APFPA), called on the Arlington County Board Tuesday to implement a pay increase for county firefighters when it adopts the Fiscal Year 2022 budget. ‘Being firefighters has always meant risking our lives for others,’ Lynch said, during a Tuesday night public hearing.” [Patch]
(Updated at 11 a.m.) Arlington firefighters battled an electrical fire at the Falls Green apartments in Falls Church early Thursday evening.
The blaze sent flames shooting out of a sewer drain adjacent to a pair of parked cars and one of the apartment towers, on the 500 block of Roosevelt Blvd near the Eden Center, as seen in photos subsequently posted by the fire department.
The sound of explosions could also be heard, according to ARLnow staff photographer Jay Westcott.
At least part of the apartment complex was evacuated amid a large fire department response. Initially, the fire was believed to have been fed by a natural gas leak, but it was later determined to have started in an underground electrical vault.
Shortly before 5 p.m., firefighters reported that the fire had apparently extinguished itself, though smoke could still be seen rising in front of the apartment building. No injuries were reported.
Arlington County provides firefighting services to the City of Falls Church.
Photo from the scene at yesterday's underground electrical vault fire. Many thanks to our partners at @FallsChurchGov, @washingtongas, @DominionEnergy and @ffxfirerescue for the assist in bringing the dangerous situation to a safe conclusion. pic.twitter.com/9MR0ZtUfcC
— Arlington Fire & EMS (@ArlingtonVaFD) April 2, 2021
Firefighters battled three separate brush fires along the GW Parkway during Monday evening’s commute.
The fires were first reported just before 6 p.m., and ultimately prompted a response of at least a half dozen units from the Arlington County, Montgomery County, and Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall fire departments.
“At approximately 5:50 p.m. the Arlington County Emergency Communications Center began receiving multiple calls for brush fires near the First Scenic Overlook extending north on GW Parkway,” said Taylor Blunt, Public Information Officer for the Arlington County Fire Department. “Our first unit arrived within four minutes and confirmed other fires to the north and requested additional units to the scene.”
Two of the brush fires were extinguished relatively quickly. The third was reported out around 6:45 p.m.
“At this stage, we do not know the cause of the fires,” Blunt said. “This incident serves as a reminder of the increased fire danger due to the recent dry and windy weather conditions. We again ask that everyone properly discard smoking materials and not have any open burns.”
A Red Flag Warning was in effect in Arlington and the region over the weekend, amid high winds and a lack of recent rainfall. Brush fires were reported in Loudoun County and Montgomery County on Sunday.
More on the GW Parkway fires, below, via social media.
Fire in brush and trees on east side of GW Parkway about mile north of 29 exit. Not pictured is @ArlingtonVaFD present and en route. No traffic jam seen northbound yet. @ARLnowDOTcom pic.twitter.com/Q4h4SDxWgJ
— Clarendon Nights (@clarendonnights) March 15, 2021
— Dave Statter (@STATter911) March 15, 2021
— Critical Formulation (@bramblerambles) March 15, 2021
#Update Our initial units are working to extinguish the brush fires and have observed additional fires extending north on GW Parkway. Additional resources have been requested to the scene.
— Arlington Fire & EMS (@ArlingtonVaFD) March 15, 2021
#FinalUpdate All brush fires are now out. Units will be clearing NB GW Parkway shortly. Expect residual traffic delays. Our thanks to @FortMyerFire and @mcfrs for their assistance.
—#REMINDER – there is increased fire danger in the region due to low humidity and gusty winds.
— Arlington Fire & EMS (@ArlingtonVaFD) March 15, 2021
The Arlington County Fire Department answers the call for all hazards, from fires to chemical spills to explosives to technical rescues. And, it turns out, for birds that get themselves stuck on roofs.
Yesterday firefighters responded to a multi-story residential building in the Ballston area to help free a bird that somehow had its head become wedged in the siding.
Using ladders to get to the roof, firefighters successfully rescued the bird, which was identified by animal control as a starling.
There’s no word on whether any opportunistic cats got stuck in trees while attempting their own extraction of the hapless bird.
Chief Toussaint confirms it’s a starling!
— AWLArlington, VA (@AWLAArlington) March 11, 2021
We are so grateful to Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department and Arlington County Fire Department for saving this trapped starling yesterday! pic.twitter.com/ekNEL6kKrV
— AWLArlington, VA (@AWLAArlington) March 12, 2021
And this year, for the first time, the free camp — founded to encourage women to become firefighters — is open to all teens regardless of gender.
Twenty-four girls and boys ages 15 to 18 will have the chance to experience five days of what it takes to be an Arlington firefighter and Emergency Medical Technician.
To participate, teens must apply by May 1 and be accepted. The camp runs 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. from June 21-25.
According to the county, Camp Heat introduces teens to fire and EMT simulations and career opportunities as first responders, while teaching them life skills such as physical fitness, nutrition and CPR.
“The goal of the camp is to increase the participants’ confidence and empower them to consider entering physically challenging careers, such as the fire service, later in life,” the county website said.
As of 2018, at least three campers had applied or joined their local fire department.
Camp Heat was founded is to “empower young females through an introduction to the Fire and Emergency Medical Services.”
Nationwide, women are underrepresented in firefighting, comprising less than 10% of firefighters, according to the National Fire Protection Association. But it was an Arlington County firefighter named Judith “Judy” Brewer who blazed a trail for them when she was hired as the nation’s first female career firefighter in 1974.
This is the first year that the department has opened the program to all teens, ACFD spokesman Taylor Blunt confirmed.
With only 24 spots available, the application asks applicants to “take care in completing the application and provide thoughtful answers to the essay.”
“Applicants are expected to be responsible and demonstrate a self-starting attitude,” the application said. “Applicants must be… in good physical health in order to participate in the rigorous activities planned.”
Due to COVID-19, the campers will not be able to go inside the firehouse. Other safety precautions such as temperature checks and masks will be required as well.
Campers are required to provide their own blue pants, black belt, and safety boots/shoes.
(Updated at 9:25 p.m.) Firefighters responded to the high-end Turnberry Tower condo building in Rosslyn to battle a reported fire on the roof Tuesday afternoon.
An HVAC unit caught fire atop the high-rise building, sending a small column of dark smoke rising in the air. The fire was quickly extinguished after firefighters made it onto the roof.
Police closed at least one street around the complex due to the large initial fire department response.
#Update Units isolated the fire to an air handler on the roof with no impact to the floors below. Units are going in service shortly after cleaning up.
— Arlington Fire & EMS (@ArlingtonVaFD) March 9, 2021
Two Arlington County firefighters were the only paramedics present at ground zero of the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol, treating and triaging injured law enforcement officers and attackers alike.
That’s according to a new report from the Associated Press, citing dozens of documents obtained via the Freedom of Information Act.
From the AP:
Two firefighters loaned to Washington for the day were the only medics on the Capitol steps Jan. 6, trying to triage injured officers as they watched the angry mob swell and attack police working to protect Congress.
Law enforcement agents were “being pulled into the crowd and trampled, assaulted with scaffolding materials, and/or bear maced by protesters,” wrote Arlington County firefighter Taylor Blunt in an after-action memo. Some couldn’t walk, and had to be dragged to safety.
Even the attackers sought medical help, and Blunt and his colleague Nathan Waterfall treated those who were passing out or had been hit. But some “feigned illness to remain behind police lines,” Blunt wrote.
Blunt, who’s also the Public Information Officer for the Arlington County Fire Department, said he and his colleagues were “among the first mutual aid teams to arrive,” and they “were critical to begin the process of driving protestors off the Capitol,” according to the AP.
The reporting suggests Arlington first responders had an earlier and more active role in defending the Capitol than previously known. County officials have not provided much specificity around what support Arlington police and firefighters provided in the District that day, and when.
ARLnow previously reported on large convoys of Arlington first responders that were seen heading into D.C. in the midst of the Capitol chaos that afternoon, and on video footage showing riot gear-clad ACPD officers pushing back unruly protesters that night.
At the time, a department spokeswoman declined to provide ARLnow with additional information on the deployments of Arlington police officers, citing the need to not divulge tactical information. Blunt, reached via email on Friday, declined an interview.
“Since the incident is still under investigation, we have decided not to provide interviews at this time,” he wrote. “Hopefully, my memo provided to the press via the FOIA request gives you some perspective of the challenges we had to face that day.”
ARLnow reported on Jan. 5 that Arlington police would be in D.C. as a result of a mutual aid request from the Metropolitan Police Department. Arlington officers would “assist our regional law enforcement partners in maintaining peace and order in the event of a significant disturbance or unrest,” said ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage.
The AP report notes that county officials were informed that Arlington officers were responding to the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol around 3:30 p.m., an hour or so after the ACFD medics started treating injured people on the Capitol steps.
…it was 3:39 p.m. when Penn emailed county officials that he had “just been notified” that Arlington officers were responding to the Capitol attack and had been absorbed into the overall response led by Capitol Police.
That was almost 90 minutes after the mob first busted into the Capitol and more than an hour after the medics began treating injured police on the steps.