by ARLnow.com — September 28, 2015 at 4:55 pm 605 0

Apartment fire in Penrose (photo via @ACFDPIO)

Arlington County firefighters extinguished an apartment fire in the Penrose neighborhood this afternoon.

The fire was reported in a garden-style apartment on the 2700 block of 8th Street S. just after 4 p.m. Firefighters arrived to find a small fire in an upstair apartment.

The fire was quickly extinguished but water damage is reported in the apartment and the apartment below it.

This was the third small structure fire reported in Arlington in the past two days.

Photo via @ACFDPIO

by ARLnow.com — September 28, 2015 at 10:00 am 1,062 0

Last night's Super Moon above the clouds, as seen from a flight arriving at DCA

Vihstadt Endorses Dorsey, McMenamin — Independent Arlington County Board member John Vihstadt has endorsed fellow independent Michael McMenamin and Democrat Christian Dorsey for County Board. Dorsey said in a statement that he is “honored to have the support of all five members of the Arlington County Board, including John Vihstadt,” but also reiterated his support for Democratic ticket mate Katie Cristol. [InsideNova]

ACFD Responds to Small Fires — The Arlington County Fire Department has battled two small fires within the past two days. On Saturday around noon on the 2300 block of S. Arlington Mill Drive, firefighters extinguished a fire on the back porch of a home. This morning ACFD extinguished a small apartment fire on the 4200 block of 2nd Road N. [Twitter, Twitter]

‘JPod’ Discussion Tonight — The Columbia Heights Civic Association tonight will discuss monorail-like “JPods” as a possible transit alternative for Columbia Pike. Residents will hear from JPods booster Bill James at tonight’s meeting at the Walter Reed Community Center. [CHCA]

Affordable Housing Opponents Vow Budget Fight — Now that Arlington’s Affordable Housing Master Plan has been approved, opponents of the plan are planning to try to stymie it within the county’s budget process next year. “The plan didn’t obligate the county, directly or indirectly, to spend money,” the chair of the Arlington County Republican Committee is quoted as saying. “The testimony at the budget hearing is going to determine how that is funded.” [InsideNova]

by Heather Mongilio — September 25, 2015 at 4:35 pm 1,027 0

An Arlington County fire truckArlington County firefighters are attempting to check smoke detectors in every home in the county.

“Teams of on-duty Arlington County firefighters in uniform have been canvassing neighborhoods on Saturdays since June, offering smoke alarm inspections, new batteries and even brand-new devices when needed. All free,” the county said in a statement.

Firefighters have visited about an eighth of the approximately 40,000 homes in Arlington.

“So far firefighter, teams have visited 5303 homes, installed 784 smoke alarms and replaced 156 batteries. Of residences visited, 219 were without detectors of any kind,” the county said.

Firefighters started the door-to-door initiative to prevent fire-related the deaths, the statement said. Smoke detectors previously saved two people in an Old Glebe neighborhood last January.

“Previously, the fire department installed smoke alarms on request but few homeowners took advantage. The new door-to-door approach took hold after three recent massive house fires left a total of five people dead. In follow-ups, the department found that many neighboring homes lacked working smoke detectors or never had ones installed,” the county said.

The fire department will pause smoke detector inspections on Oct. 3 and will resume them in April.

by Heather Mongilio — September 18, 2015 at 12:15 pm 826 0

The last planned community meeting on the topic of Fire Station 8’s potential relocation turned heated quickly as residents strongly objected to the county staff’s recommendation to move the fire station to what’s now a salt dome at 26th Street N. and Old Dominion Drive.

The county plans to replace the aging fire station with a larger, “state of the art facility,” which requires the station to be relocated to a larger piece of land or for the current building to be torn down and rebuilt. For the most part, residents at the meetings have objected to any relocation of the fire station, citing the station’s history and importance to the surrounding community, among other issues.

“I have been at these meetings and at every one of them, one or two or five people have suggested either a newer cooperative station or a new station for emergency medical services in the northern part of the county and leaving Fire Station 8 renovated and modernized where it is,” one neighbor said. “And yet immediately that suggestion is dismissed and does not appear on any of these studies that you present. It doesn’t look like you have taken back suggestions in any form for your consideration.”

County staff are planning to recommend the salt dome at 26th Street N. and Old Dominion Drive as the location of the new Fire Station 8 to the county manager. The county manager will then draft a recommendation that will be made to the County Board.

The site at Old Dominion Drive and 26th Street N. is only one of the possible 19 locations that fit the parameters set by the County Board. Under these guidelines, the new location had to improve response times in North Arlington, have at least an acre and a half of land, be county owned or have a willing seller, have access to an arterial road and not exist in a resource protected area. The total cost of acquiring the land and building the new four-bay station also had to be $12 million or less, according to Deputy County Manger Carol Mitten.

Throughout the process, the largest concern has been improving response times to homes in North Arlington, said Deputy County Manager James Schwartz, who previously served as the fire chief.

If the fire station is relocated a minute north to 26th Street N. and Old Dominion Drive, 3,000 more homes will be able to have a four to six minute response time from the fire department, police and emergency medical services, he said.

In most of the county, emergency services are able to get to people within four to six minutes, except in the far northern most part of Arlington, where times can be eight or 10 minutes, he said.

“A person that’s in cardiac arrest must receive basic life support, that’s CPR, in four to six minutes or there’s irreversible brain damage,” he said.


by ARLnow.com — September 15, 2015 at 5:45 pm 1,294 0

Update at 6:15 p.m. — The disabled train has been cleared and trains are no longer single tracking past the station, Metro says.

Earlier: A large scale fire department response has been dispatched to the East Falls Church Metro station for a report of smoke on a train.

Metro says that a Largo-bound Silver Line train has offloaded at the station after suffering a brake problem. Trains are now single tracking past the station.

Light smoke reportedly filled at least one of the train cars, according to scanner traffic.

by ARLnow.com — August 31, 2015 at 11:00 am 2,029 0

Dozens of residents were evacuated from The Carlton condominium at 4600 S. Four Mile Run Drive Friday night.

The fire started in a 12th floor condo around 10:30 p.m. The blaze was extinguished before the flames could spread to another unit. At least one person was reportedly treated on scene for smoke inhalation.

Four Mile Run Drive was closed while firefighters battled the blaze. The county fire marshal is investigating the cause of the fire.

by ARLnow.com — August 26, 2015 at 9:05 am 1,072 0

Update at 10:05 a.m. — The leak has been stopped, according to scanner traffic. Residents who had been evacuated are being allowed back into their homes.

The Arlington County Fire Department is on the scene of a large gas leak in the Aurora Highlands neighborhood, near Pentagon City.

The leak was reported around 8:45 a.m. on S. Grant Street, between 18th and 19th Streets, a block from Arlington Fire Station No. 5.

Initial reports suggest a six-inch gas line below the street is actively leaking gas.

Washington Gas crews are on the scene and trying to figure out how to shut off the gas. Roads in the immediate vicinity are being shut down.

by ARLnow.com — August 19, 2015 at 10:10 am 3,610 0

Firefighters rescue a cat in Ballston (photo courtesy @B_Flipn)

A cat was rescued from a high ledge in Ballston this morning.

The rescue took place around 9 a.m., several stories high at the Avalon Ballston Square Apartments (850 N. Randolph Street), after the cat had walked down a ledge from an apartment balcony and its owner was unable to reach it, according to Arlington County Fire Department spokesman Lt. Brian Edwards.

Firefighters used a ladder tower to pluck the cat from the ledge without incident, Edwards said.

Edwards couldn’t recall the fire department’s last cat rescue. He noted that “we don’t get a whole lot [of cat rescues] but there are a few throughout the year.”

Photo courtesy @B_Flipn

by ARLnow.com — August 17, 2015 at 11:05 am 691 0

Sequoia Plaza Dept. of Human Services building (photo via Arlington County)One of the buildings used by Arlington’s Dept. of Human Services is closed today due to construction-related fumes.

Earlier this morning the fire department was called to the Stambaugh Human Services Center Building at 2100 Washington Blvd — also known as Sequoia Plaza building one — to investigate “strong fumes” that were making some employees feel ill.

Firefighters determined that the fumes were coming from an epoxy floor sealant.

DHS spokesman Kurt Larrick said the following DHS offices will be remain closed Monday but are expected to reopen tomorrow:

  • Housing Assistance Services, including Housing Grant, Housing Choice Voucher and Real Estate Tax Relief programs
  • Community Assistance Bureau and Public Assistance Bureau services
  • Public Health clinics
  • Child and family services and aging and disability services (All hotlines are still active)

The Arlington Employment Center Resource Room services will be available on the fifth floor of the Arlington Mill Community Center from 1-4 p.m. today, Larrick noted.

Photo via Arlington County

by Heather Mongilio — August 7, 2015 at 3:45 pm 1,831 0

(Updated at 5:15 p.m.) The Hall’s Hill Volunteer Fire Department was no stranger to challenges.

The first All-African American volunteer fire department in Arlington faced segregation and limited equipment for almost 40 years, according to a history of Fire Station 8 by Arlington Public Library.

The chronological history of the station was published in the middle of a debate between local residents and county government over its proposal to relocate the station farther north to Old Dominion Drive, by Marymount University.

“My neighbors look at that fire station as the heart, the hub, the star on the tree, whatever you want to say,” community member Jim Derrig said at a July 30 meeting. “And what we’re trying to say is you can’t replace the heart with a pacemaker or a bandaid. You have to replace a heart with a heart.”

The county says relocation is necessary for the Arlington County Fire Department to meet their response time goal of four to six minutes countywide.

“We are focused on life saving. That is our mission,” former Arlington County Fire Chief Jim Schwartz said in a county-produced video.

While this would not be the first time the fire station moved, — the Hall’s Hill Volunteer Fire Department was previously housed in smaller fire stations on Lee Highway and N. Culpepper Street in the 1930s — relocation would mean that it would no longer be in the Hall’s Hill community.

Hall’s Hill is a historically African-American community, once the home of freed slaves and separated from the rest of the county by a fence. In 1918, the members of the community formed the Hall’s Hill Volunteer Fire Department with one 60-gallon chemical tank that six men would have to pull along muddy and unpaved roads, according to the library.

When Arlington County was formally established two years later, the county excluded the Hall’s Hill Volunteer Fire Department from the Arlington County Fireman’s Association and did not give the department monthly pay for professional firefighters.

The VFD, which played a central part in the community, slowly built up its fleet of fire trucks and built a station first on Lee Highway in 1927 and then 2209 N. Culpepper Street in 1934. The 1934 fire house also had a basement for a community center.

After the fire department was integrated, it moved to its current home at 4845 Lee Highway and officially opened on June 17, 1963 with 17 paid firefighters. The Hall’s Hill Volunteer Fire Department owned the deed to one of the pieces of land that went into the new station, while the county owned the others.


by ARLnow.com — August 5, 2015 at 4:50 pm 1,495 0

A county water crew’s effort to smoke some bees out of a hollow tree ended with a fire department response earlier today.

The incident happened Wednesday morning near the intersection of 17th Street N. and N. Buchanan Street, in the Waycroft-Woodlawn neighborhood.

An Arlington Water, Sewer, Streets Bureau crew was trying to rid the tree of the bees, in order to replace a meter box below the tree, when something seemingly went wrong.

“Crews discovered a beehive in the hollow part of the tree and smoked it out so they could access the box,” said Meghan McMahon, a spokeswoman for Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services. “The tree began smoking badly, so crews called the fire department.”

“[Firefighters] sprayed the tree down as a precautionary measure… the tree did not catch fire,” McMahon noted. “Crews didn’t want to take any chances in today’s dry, hot weather.”

The tree is scheduled to be removed by the county parks department Thursday, at which time the water crew will try again to replace the meter box.

by ARLnow.com — August 5, 2015 at 3:45 pm 1,392 0

Arlington Fire Chief James Schwartz presents to the County BoardArlington County Fire Chief James Schwartz will be joining county government as a Deputy County Manager next month.

Schwartz was appointed by another Schwartz — Acting County Manager Mark Schwartz. The appointment is effective Sept. 8.

As Deputy County Manager, Schwartz will oversee the county’s public safety and emergency management agencies. ACFD Assistant Chief Joseph Reshetar will take over as the department’s acting chief after Schwartz departs.

The full Arlington County press release, after the jump.


by ARLnow.com — July 25, 2015 at 9:00 pm 5,674 0

Three people and two dogs escaped from a two-alarm house fire on the 700 block of N. Edgewood Street, near Clarendon, this evening.

The fire broke out around 7:00 p.m. in the rear of a three-story house. Residents told ARLnow.com that they rent the house and were playing video games when all of a sudden they noticed a fire in their backyard, which borders the 2700 block of Washington Blvd.

The three people inside the house grabbed the two dogs that were inside and fled for safety, they said. No injuries were reported.

Despite heavy flames and smoke, firefighters were able to largely contain the fire to the house’s back porch and first floor. Washington Blvd was closed in both directions while fire companies from Arlington and Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall battled the blaze.

The county fire marshal is investigating the cause. Residents said they didn’t hear any loud noises before seeing the fire. ARLnow.com spotted a melted electrical meter near the charred rear porch, but a fire department spokesman declined to speculate on a cause.

by ARLnow.com — July 24, 2015 at 10:50 am 1,751 0

Arlington County fire truckThe Arlington County Fire Department responded to a fire on a balcony at a Crystal City apartment building this morning.

Around 10:15 a.m., firefighters were called to the Concord apartment building at 2600 Crystal Drive for a report of a fire on a fifth or sixth floor balcony.

Firefighters found a computer on fire on the balcony. According to scanner traffic, a resident had brought the computer outside after it caught fire in the apartment.

Firefighters are now working on smoke ventilation while the county fire marshal investigates the exact cause of the fire.

by ARLnow.com — July 21, 2015 at 12:50 pm 1,888 0

Smoke from a car fire on Lorcom Lane (photo courtesy Sophie Pyle)Update at 2:20 p.m. — The scene is being cleared and nearby roads are being reopened.

Firefighters are on the scene of downed wires and a car fire near the intersection of Lorcom Lane and Lee Highway in Waverly Hills.

A high voltage line came down on top of six cars around noon, according to Arlington County Fire Department spokeswoman Lt. Sarah Marchegiani. At least one of the cars caught fire and smoke from the blaze could be seen from as far away as Ballston.

Video (below) show the smoke and fire coming from what appears to be a small parking lot next to an apartment building.

It’s unclear if anyone was inside the cars when the power lines came down, but no injuries have been reported. No word yet on what caused the wires to come down.

Firefighters were unable to douse the flames with water due to the live wires, Marchegiani said. A Department of Defense foam tanker was dispatched to the scene in order to extinguish the fire, according to scanner traffic.

A Dominion Power crew has arrived on the scene and will be working to shut off power to the lines.

Northbound Lorcom Lane is currently closed between Old Dominion Drive and Lee Highway due to the fire department activity. Police are planning on closing two lanes of Old Dominion at Lorcom, according to scanner traffic.

Photo (top) courtesy Sophie Pyle


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