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“Possible witness” to June 17 vehicle arson (photo via Arlington County Fire Marshal’s Office)

Someone lit a car on fire near the Arlington border, using fireworks stolen from the Bluemont area.

That’s according to the Arlington County Fire Marshal’s Office, which today released surveillance photos of a “possible witness” to the June 17 incident just east of Seven Corners. Fire marshals are trying to identify the person in the photos.

More from the flyer released today:

The Arlington County Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating a Theft of Commercial Fireworks and Arson of a Vehicle and is seeking the public’s assistance in identifying a possible witness. At approximate 9pm on June 17, 2023 the Fire Department responded to Patrick Henry Dr Falls Church/ Wilson Blvd & N. McKinley Rd Arlington for the report of a vehicle fire. The investigation determined the cause of the fire was ARSON and the suspect used fireworks stolen from a commercial fireworks stand in the 5100 Block of Wilson Blvd to burn the vehicle. The individual pictured above may have information regarding or have witnessed the crime.

Anyone with information about the crime or the possible witness is asked to contact Lt. John Crooke at (703)-228-4649 or [email protected].

Cleanup crews on Crystal Drive tending to oily water that flooded the road on the afternoon of Wednesday, Sept. 13 (via Arlington County)

Part of Crystal Drive was closed for several hours yesterday after a utility worker inadvertently pumped oily water onto the road.

The Arlington County Fire Department, including its hazmat unit, was the first to respond to the scene in Crystal City for initial reports of an “unknown amount of gas in the roadway,” according to scanner traffic.

Crystal Drive was closed in both directions between 15th and 23rd Street S. according to an Arlington Alert message sent out shortly before 2 p.m.

Responders then called in Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services, and its sand truck, to handle cleanup, per the scanner. The cleanup crews could be seen near 20th Street S. and Crystal Drive on live camera feed.

DES spokeswoman Katie O’Brien told ARLnow Wednesday evening that oily water had flooded the road.

“A contractor for Pepco, pumping water out of an old electrical transmission vault, accidentally released oily water into the roadway,” she said. “An absorbent and sand was placed on the roadway to contain the oil and prevent slipping. The contractor is working to clean the area.”

The road reopened around 7:30 p.m.

Pepco, of course, serves customers in D.C. and suburban Maryland, not Virginia. It does, however, have communication and power transmission lines in the Crystal City area, according to O’Brien.


(Updated at 1:25 p.m. on 9/12/23) Twenty-two years ago today, at 9:37 a.m., American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the west side of the Pentagon, claiming the lives of 184 people.

To honor those who died, Arlington County elected officials and public safety personnel gathered in front of the Ellen M. Bozman Government Center in Courthouse to pay tribute and observe a moment of silence.

Dozens of police, fire and rescue personnel offered an honorary salute as the Arlington County Public Safety Combined Honor Guard ceremoniously placed a wreath at the flagpoles situated in front of the county government headquarters.

During the ceremony, Arlington County Fire Department Capt. David Santini reminded attendees of the response and recovery efforts by local police and fire and rescue personnel, which lasted 20 days.

“As that work ended, the community began the healing process, and the responders intensified their efforts to prepare for a new generation of threat,” Santini said. “For the members of our military, September 11 was the beginning of a new nation unbroken over 22 years, stretching to all corners of the world.”

“Since that day, just as with every day throughout our nation’s history, these courageous men and women have answered the call of their country, sacrificing so much, and in some cases sacrificing all to protect our nation and the world from threats to our safety and security,” he continued.

Today, First Lady Jill Biden also participated in a wreath-laying ceremony at the 9/11 Pentagon Memorial, followed by an observance ceremony led by U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.


A worker fell into a hard-to-access area at a construction site along Columbia Pike this afternoon, prompting a rescue operation.

Firefighters were dispatched to the intersection of Columbia Pike and S. Oak Street just before 4 p.m. for a report of someone who fell into a concrete box and needed to be hoisted via a rescue basket.

Columbia Pike was closed in both directions near the Sheraton hotel while firefighters worked to bring the person to safety. The victim was then reportedly taken via ambulance to Virginia Hospital Center for possible broken bones.

“At 3:51 p.m. the ACFD was dispatched to the area of Columbia Pike and S. Oak St. for a female patient that fell into a concrete utility box,” fire department spokesman Capt. Nate Hiner tells ARLnow. “Crews made quick access to the patient and removed her utilizing a Stokes basket. The patient was transported to an area hospital with non life threatening injuries.”

Construction in the area includes the realignment of Columbia Pike and the expansion of Arlington National Cemetery. It was not immediately clear at which construction site the person was injured.

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(Updated at 12:10 p.m.) The first thing you notice when walking into the rebuilt Ireland’s Four Courts — which is officially reopening today, at long last — is that it’s both familiar and new at the same time.

The interior is a bit brighter and more open — the crash that smashed and torched the long-time Courthouse watering hole last summer revealed to the owners that the columns near the front were decorative, not structural.

The predominant color scheme is now teal instead of red. The mugs that used to hang behind the bar are gone — the heat from the fire melted them, leaving just handles hanging from the peg board. Additionally, the back room is now more inviting for patrons and private events, with a library and an upgraded second bar.

On the other hand, the general layout is the same. And you’ll notice touches that were salvaged from the old Four Courts: the handmade-in-Ireland tables have a fresh coat of paint and varnish, the soccer jersey that miraculously survived the flames, the antique Irish fireplace that needed 30 hours or restoration work, the Men of Aran sculpture, and a few other items.

Four Courts would have probably needed an interior refresh at some point this decade, but this was not the way managing partner Dave Cahill and other owners wanted it to happen.

When the rideshare driver who was suffering an apparent medical emergency slammed into the pub on Aug. 12, 2022, a group of coworkers were marking an occasion together near the front. They never saw the car barrelling toward them.

The 14 people who were injured, including the three critically hurt from that group — who spent an extended period of time in the hospital — were honored during a private event at the pub Wednesday evening.

The Arlington first responders who rushed to the scene and — along with fellow patrons — helped to pull the injured out of the building just as the inferno started spreading were also honored at the event. Without them, according to Cahill, multiple people would have died and Four Courts would never have reopened.

That everyone survived is its own miracle. The force of the impact was such that a patron sitting at the bar, well away from where the car came to rest, with the dazed driver and rideshare passenger inside, was blown off of his barstool.

After eight months of a complete interior demolition and reconstruction — and despite some work left to be done with the exterior facade — Four Courts will reopen to the public at 4 p.m.

There will be live music today, Friday and Saturday. And as before, those hoping to catch some sports from across the pond can expect a 9 a.m. opening time on Saturday.

For Cahill and others who witnessed the crash and its aftermath, memories of the horror of that day are still fresh. But for now he’s focusing on the reopening, which is also a homecoming for Four Courts’ legion of displaced regulars.

“I am feeling a huge relief to be at the finish line and a great of excitement to open the doors and see all the familiar face again,” Cahill told ARLnow. “Four Courts is a home and away from home for so many of our customers and we are excited to welcome them back. It’s like having my birthday, St. Patrick’s Day and Christmas Day all at once. We can not wait!”

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(Updated at 10 a.m.) A person has life-threatening injuries after a long fall in the Ballston area.

The incident happened around 7 a.m. at the intersection of Fairfax Drive and N. Quincy Street. Police initially responded there for a trespasser climbing a rope at the construction site.

While on scene, an officer told dispatchers that the person appeared to be stuck part-way up the under-construction building and, a short time later, that they fell about eight stories to the ground below.

Firefighters rushed to the scene to treat the gravely injured person, who was at least initially reported to be a man between the ages of 30-50. Detectives were also dispatched to investigate.

The intersection was closed by police for about 2.5 hours before reopening around 9:30 a.m.

Two years after Eagle Scout Megan Mazel started building a memorial around a World Trade Center steel beam in Pentagon City, a fellow scout is finishing what she started.

In 2010, the New York City Fire Department gave a warped and rusted steel beam — salvaged from the wreckage of World Trade Center’s North Tower after 9/11 — to the Arlington County Fire Department. The county held a ceremony and pledged to build a memorial.

For more than a decade, however, the beam sat unadorned outside Arlington County Fire Station 5 in Pentagon City. Mazel, then a member of Boy Scout Troop 164, approached ACFD about giving the beam a more fitting tribute.

“Coming from a military family and first responder family, I was a little taken aback at the fact that they just dropped this significant piece of metal on the lawn near the fire department… and they didn’t do anything for the first 10 years of it being there,” Mazel told ARLnow.

In August 2020, Mazel began drafting a proposal. She envisioned a pentagon-shaped walking path surrounding the steel beam, with one point oriented north toward the Pentagon.

Since the beam was on county property, however, she encountered a lot of red tape. It took nearly a year for her designs to be approved, leaving Mazel three weeks to meet her deadline: the 20th anniversary of the attacks.

In that time, she managed to build railroad ties around the beam, add mulch and install three ground sleeves for flag poles.

“I think it turned out well for the time that I had in the situation that I was in,” she said. “But I wish that I could have done more to it.”

Now, Daniel Bode, a Wakefield High School student and scout with Troop 164, is adding to her vision.

Working around the county’s plans for the site, Bode said he secured approval to add flower beds and benches around the steel beam “to further enhance the experience” of the memorial.

“I wanted to add benches because there should be a seating area around the area, just so you’re not standing and looking down on it,” Bode told ARLnow.

Last weekend, Bode, Mazel, other scouts and Arlington firefighters started installing the flower beds and laying the concrete for the benches. This Saturday, Bode and his fellow scouts intend to install the benches.

He aims to have the site ready for a commemoration ceremony by military personnel on Sept. 9.

“We will come back and even out the mulch a bit. Clean up the concrete pillars. Make the area look nice and bolt in the benches. And then that should be it,” he said.

Capt. Joshua Milfeit, who assisted both scouts with their individual projects, said he is excited to see Bode finish what Mazel started.

“There is a plan of some sort from the county to make it a more permanent memorial,” he said. “Until there is a permanent memorial, we can still make it something nicer than it used to be, which was two wood stanchions with a piece of steel.”

For Bode, the project honors those who lost their lives on 9/11 and holds personal significance for him.

“I didn’t have any family members that were lost,” he said. “But, of course, having military parents and a lot of friends and family who are in EMT service, or police officers, or the fire department, it just touches close to home,” he said.

As for Mazel, she said she hopes that other scouts will continue carrying out what she and Bode have done so far.

“If people keep adding to it, and it keeps being an Eagle Scout project that keeps getting bigger and more generation of kids get to do research about 9/11, I’ll be perfectly fine with that,” Mazel said.

Power outage map as of 2:15 p.m. on Aug. 22 (via Dominion)

(Updated at 9:15 p.m.) Thousands were without power in and around Crystal City and Pentagon City for much of the day due to a widespread outage.

The outage was first reported just after 11:15 a.m. Arlington County firefighters investigated a possible underground explosion and treated a Dominion worker with burns from steam that came out of a manhole, according to scanner traffic.

“At 11:18 a.m. a splice in an underground cable failed causing an arc/flash and 10,000+ outages in Crystal City, Pentagon City & nearby neighborhoods,” Dominion spokeswoman Peggy Fox told ARLnow shortly before 4 p.m. “We’re working to have all customers restored as quickly as possible, hopefully in a half an hour. A worker was treated at the scene and released.”

ACFD also responded to a large quantity of stuck elevator calls in the area, owing to the outage.

More than 10,250 Dominion customers were without power as a result of the outage. The outage map extended into the Aurora Highlands and Arlington Ridge residential neighborhoods, including Oakridge Elementary.

Arlington’s parks department closed the Long Bridge Aquatic and Fitness Center and the Gunston Community Center due to the outage.

As of 5:15 p.m., Dominion said all but 1,229 customers had their power restored, with outages still reported along Crystal Drive by ARLnow readers. As of 9 p.m. all customers had been restored, per Dominion.

Stolen ambulance chase in Pentagon City (photo via Dave Statter/YouTube)

(Updated on 8/16/23) The man accused of damaging upwards of 20 vehicles after stealing two trucks and an Arlington County ambulance over the weekend was previously arrested in Arlington in May.

Darell Caldwell, a 30-year-old Maryland man, is facing both federal and local charges in the wild Saturday afternoon incident, in which he led police on a winding chase of the stolen ambulance across parts of Arlington and into D.C. before his arrest, according to Virginia State Police.

New video from local public safety watcher Dave Statter gives an extended look at the chase.

Traffic camera video posted by Statter also shows how the series of crashes started: with the stolen truck sideswiping a vehicle in the Rosslyn tunnel along I-66. Prior to that, a truck was reported stolen from a construction site in the City of Falls Church.

Caldwell has a criminal record in Arlington, Fairfax County, D.C. and Prince George’s County, according to court records. He was out on bond from a recent Arlington case but became a fugitive after not showing up to a July court hearing, records show. The bond, for a drug possession charge, was approved by a magistrate judge.

“At no point before trial was the Commonwealth in a position to argue for or against Mr. Caldwell’s release,” Commonwealth’s Attorney Parisa Dehghani-Tafti noted to ARLnow.

He was due in court after an incident just before midnight on May 25 along N. Glebe Road, a few blocks north of Ballston. According to Arlington County police, Caldwell was tried to run from police after he was seen walking in the middle of Glebe Road.

From ACPD:

NARCOTICS VIOLATION, 2023-05250307, N. Glebe Road and 14th Street N. At approximately 11:43 p.m. on May 25, 2023, a patrol officer observed two intoxicated males walking in lanes of traffic on N. Glebe Road and detained them. While conducting the investigation, Suspect One attempted to run from the scene while Suspect Two resisted arrest. With the assistance of an additional arriving officer, both suspects were taken into custody. Suspect One was transported to an area hospital for medical evaluation and during a search of his property, officers recovered narcotics. Darell Caldwell, 30, of Brandywine, MD was arrested and charged with Drunk in Public, Disorderly Conduct, and Possession of Controlled Substance I/ II. Suspect Two was evaluated by medics on scene and, during the course of the investigation, officers determined he was in possession of two concealed knives. Anthony Jeffers, 38, of Arlington, VA was arrested and charged with Drunk in Public, Disorderly Conduct, and Possession and Concealing a Weapon by a Convicted Felon (x2).

The advanced life support ambulance Caldwell is accused of stealing and crashing into a dozen or so vehicles on I-395 and in Southwest D.C., meanwhile, is set to be repaired. The Arlington County Fire Department will utilize a spare unit until the ambulance, dubbed Medic 110, is back in service.

“The damage is repairable and depending on parts availability, should only take one to two months,” fire department spokesman Capt. Nate Hiner tells ARLnow. “We do have a reserve medic unit to use, as we have five spare ambulances in our fleet.”

Stolen ambulance damaged in chase (photo via Virginia State Police/Facebook)

(Updated at 11 p.m.) A suspect in a truck crashed into multiple vehicles on I-66 and I-395, then led police on a wild chase in a stolen Arlington ambulance.

The incidents started shortly after 3:30 p.m., with reports of a stolen Freightliner truck striking vehicles on I-66 in the Rosslyn area and again on northbound I-395 just before the 14th Street Bridge. I-395 was blocked by the crashes and at least two people were hurt, including one with reported significant injuries.

The same hit-and-run suspect then allegedly stole another truck before hopping in and stealing an Arlington ambulance around 4:15 p.m. Medics tried to pull the suspect out of the ambulance but he drove off, leading Virginia State Police — followed by Arlington police — on a chase through parts of Crystal City and Pentagon City. The suspect struck numerous vehicles on the northbound HOV lanes of I-395 as he fled into D.C., according to Virginia State Police.

Eventually the ambulance was stopped on I-395 in southwest D.C. and the suspect taken into custody, according to Virginia State Police.

All northbound lanes of I-395, including HOV lanes, were blocked as of 4:45 p.m., with delays on the highway extending upwards of two miles. The HOV lanes reopened by 6:15 p.m. while crews continued to clear the crash scene in the still-blocked main lanes. As of 7:15 p.m. two main lanes had reopened, per VDOT.

At least 20 vehicles were damaged over the course of the hour-long string of incidents, including the ambulance, a VSP cruiser, a parked vehicle in D.C., vehicles on the GW Parkway and I-66, and well over a dozen vehicles on I-395.

Virginia State Police said in a press release Saturday night that the suspect is a 30-year-old Maryland man.

At 3:40 p.m. Saturday (Aug. 12), Virginia State Police responded to a two-vehicle crash in the eastbound lanes of I-66 near the 74 mile marker. The truck that caused the crash fled the scene. The truck had been reported stolen out of Falls Church, Va., and the driver was later identified as Darell T. Caldwell, 30, of Brandywine, Md. The driver of the other vehicle involved in this crash was transported to a nearby hospital for treatment of minor injuries.

At 3:41 p.m., VSP responded to a multi-vehicle crash in the northbound lanes of I-395 near Exit 10 in Arlington County. The crash was caused by the same stolen truck being driven by Caldwell. A total of five people were transported to a nearby hospital as a result of this crash. Meanwhile, Caldwell fled the crash scene on foot.

Minutes later, State Police received a report of a crash on the George Washington Parkway involving another truck being driven by Caldwell that was driving the wrong way when it struck another vehicle. An Arlington County Fire Department ambulance responding to I-395 came upon the crash on the GW Parkway. The ambulance stopped and the medics got out to render aid to the drivers. While the medics were tending to the one driver, Caldwell ran up to the ambulance and drove off in it.

The medics waved down a VSP trooper who was responding to the crash scenes to alert him to the stolen ambulance. The trooper caught up to the stolen ambulance.  When the ambulance refused to stop for the trooper, a pursuit was initiated. At one point, the ambulance stopped in the road. As the trooper was getting out of his patrol car, Caldwell put the ambulance in reverse and rammed the state police vehicle and fled the scene.

The pursuit continued with Virginia State Police being assisted by Arlington County Police. During the course of the pursuit, the stolen ambulance accessed the I-395 Express Lanes and then entered Washington, D.C., where it struck head-on a parked vehicle at 14th Street NW and D Street NW. State police and Arlington County Police took Caldwell into custody without further incident. Caldwell was transported to a nearby hospital for medical evaluation.

The parked vehicle that was struck by the ambulance was occupied by one person. That individual suffered minor injuries.

During the course of the pursuit, the stolen ambulance struck multiple vehicles and again rammed the trooper’s patrol car. At this time, state police have accounted for and are investigating 13 hit-and-run crashes committed by the stolen ambulance. State police has not received any reports of serious injuries resulting from the crashes. No law enforcement were injured during the course of the pursuit. Anyone who was struck by the ambulance during the course of the pursuit is encouraged to contact the Virginia State Police at 703-803-0026.

Caldwell has been charged by federal and local law enforcement. State police charges are still pending.

Videos of the crashes, the chase and the arrest are below.

Fire response to sewage plant on S. Eads Street

(Updated at 2:20 p.m.) Firefighters are on scene of a fire investigation at Arlington County’s Water Pollution Control Plant.

Initial reports suggest that smoke is coming from a portion of the sewage plant along the 3200 block of S. Eads Street, near Crystal City. The fire department is trying to determine the source of the smoke.

Police have been dispatched to the scene to shut down a portion of S. Eads Street.

During the investigation, a firefighter on scene suffered a medical emergency and is expected to be transported to the hospital via ambulance, according to scanner traffic.

As of 2:15 p.m., the fire department was starting to scale the operation back. The fire was reported to be the result of solid waste that caught fire within one of the plant’s systems.


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