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by Chris Teale October 12, 2017 at 4:45 pm 0

(Updated at 5:10 p.m.) The Arlington County Fire Department is celebrating Fire Prevention Week with its second department-wide open house this Saturday (October 14).

All 10 county fire stations will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and have activities and information on fire safety. Visitors can also climb the trucks, tour the stations and meet crews on duty.

For Fire Prevention Week, which began on Monday, ACFD had the slogan “Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out!” to remind residents to plan a quick escape after their smoke alarm sounds. (Incidentally earlier this week a man nearly died in a house fire in Ashton Heights.)

ACFD had the following advice for homeowners to stay safe in a fire.

  • “Draw a map of your home with all members of your household, marking two exits from each room and a path to the outside from each exit.”
  • “Practice your home fire drill twice a year. Conduct one at night and one during the day with everyone in your home and practice using different ways out.”
  • “Teach children how to escape on their own in case you can’t help them.”
  • “Make sure the number of your home is clearly marked on the outside and easy for the fire department to find.”
  • “Close doors behind you as you leave to slow the spread of smoke, heat and flames.”
  • “Once you get outside, stay outside. Never go back inside a burning building.”

by ARLnow.com October 12, 2017 at 8:30 am 0

Arson Not Suspected in Ashton Heights Blaze — The house fire that critically injured an occupant of a house on N. Ivy Street in Ashton Heights “doesn’t appear to be malicious,” says the Arlington County Fire Department. The blaze caused about $300,000 in damage to the home. [Twitter]

Obama, Tillerson Join Army Navy Country Club — Former President Barack Obama and current Secretary of State Rex Tillerson both joined Army Navy Country Club earlier this year. [Washingtonian]

Homes in Arlington Get Pricier — “A total of 237 properties went to closing in September, up 8.7 percent from the 218 transactions a year before… With the increase in sales came a nearly identical hike in average sales price, which was up 8.8 percent to $640,441.” [InsideNova]

Police: Arlington Woman Left Stroller in Middle of Road — “A 19-year-old Arlington woman was arrested on Sunday after she allegedly left an infant in a stroller in the middle of the road in Woodbridge while she bit and assaulted an acquaintance during an argument.” [Prince William Times]

Lidl Struggling to Break Into U.S. Market — Lidl, the German grocery chain with its U.S. headquarters in Crystal City, is reportedly pulling out of a lease deal in Prince George’s County, Md. as it struggles to gain market share in the U.S. [Washington Business Journal]

Lost Dog Taking in Shelter Pets from Puerto Rico — The Arlington-based Lost Dog and Cat Rescue Foundation is among the local organizations taking in shelter pets from hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico. [WJLA]

Grohl References ‘Mario’s Pizza’ at D.C. Show — Northern Virginia native Dave Grohl said “we’re all going to Mario’s Pizza” while wrapping up a Foo Fighters performance at The Anthem in D.C. last night. The band will headline the venue’s grand opening tonight. [Twitter]

by Chris Teale October 11, 2017 at 11:45 am 0

Funding for schools, Metro and public safety officials weigh heavily as Arlington County’s initial budget conversations continue.

In an infographic released yesterday (Tuesday) ahead of more public roundtables to discuss the FY 2019 budget, county staff highlighted how the county spends its money and the challenges ahead.

According to the data, the biggest expense in the county’s operating budget is Arlington Public Schools, which is allocated $490.2 million by the county, or 39 percent of its budget. Human services and public safety are second and third, around $140 million each, or 11 percent.

Among the challenges ahead, staff said APS enrollment has grown by 850 students a year for the last five years, and it takes up almost all of the $510 million raised from real estate taxes on homes, condos and apartments.

And with Metro needing more money and an office vacancy rate of 17.8 percent, which keeps commercial real estate revenue down, county leaders are expecting some tight fiscal times and hard budgetary decisions.

A number of groups will be looking to influence county leaders’ thinking during the budget discussion. Among them is IAFF Local 2800, the Arlington Professional Firefighters and Paramedics Association.

In a tweet Tuesday, the group said firefighters, paramedics and police officers need a market adjustment to their salaries — a pay rise to keep up with inflation and the rising cost of living — to “remain competitive.” The last adjustment was in 2013.

According to figures provided to ARLnow.com by IAFF Local 2800, starting pay for county firefighters is 20 percent below the regional average and only $2 more per hour than the county’s minimum wage.

Since the last “market adjustment,” the group said, inflation in the region is up almost 5 percent, the cost of family HMO health insurance for county employees has increased over 45 percent, and the cost for HMO coverage for retirees and their spouses has increased over 55 percent.

Local 2800 added that new firefighters will earn 12 percent less per hour over a 20-year career compared to their peers in Fairfax, Prince William, Prince George’s and Montgomery Counties, the City of Alexandria and D.C.

“Arlington invests a tremendous amount of money in hiring, training and developing its firefighters,” said Brian Lynch, President of Local 2800. “Every time a firefighter leaves the department for another opportunity or does not complete their probationary period, we consider this a loss of an investment in human capital. If the department’s physical capital, vehicles, tools etc. were being lost the way we are losing our people, it would be considered common sense to try to stop the losses. There is not only a moral imperative to fairly compensate those who risk their lives to protect the community, there is also a fiscal imperative.”

by ARLnow.com October 10, 2017 at 8:50 am 0

Record High Low Temperature — The area has set another record for a warm low temperature. Yesterday, the low temperature at Reagan National Airport was 74 degrees, besting the previous Oct. 9 record of 72 degrees. [Twitter]

Record APS Enrollment — Enrollment at Arlington Public Schools for the 2017-2018 school year has been recorded at 26,927, surpassing the previous record set in 1963 in the midst of the Baby Boom generation. “The official count was up 789 students – 3 percent – from a year before, and has now risen 27 percent since the 2010-11 school year,” the Sun Gazette reported, though the final figure was well below the more than 27,000 projected. [InsideNova]

Record School Library Circulation — Print is apparently not dead yet, as 1.044 million books and other printed materials were checked out at Arlington Public Schools libraries last school year, a new record. It is the first time that count has exceeded 1 million. [InsideNova]

ACFD Getting New Ambulances — The Arlington County Fire Department is getting two brand-new ambulances for its fleet. [Twitter]

Courthouse Meeting Bowls in KidsPost — “Near Arlington’s courthouse, three unusual round wooden objects are attracting attention and exploration by people of all ages. Some think they look like amusement park rides. To Hadley Christiansen, 3, of Arlington, ‘they look like salad bowls.'” [Washington Post]

Meeting Set on High-Speed Rail Line — A public hearing is being held in Alexandria next Tuesday to gather public input on proposed high-speed rail service from D.C. to Richmond. [InsideNova]

Flickr pool photo by James L.

by ARLnow.com October 9, 2017 at 1:00 pm 0

The Arlington County Fire Department had to roll out its mass-casualty ambulance bus to treat and transport dozens of runners suffering from heat-related illness during the Army Ten Miler on Sunday.

Race organizers shortened the course mid-way through the race, citing safety concerns amid unusually warm and humid conditions for an October day, WJLA reported. Sunday was “Washington’s sultriest October day ever recorded,” according to the Capital Weather Gang.

ACFD evaluated or treated a total of 145 patients and transported 34 to local hospitals, mostly due to heat-related incidents, Capt. Ben O’Bryant told ARLnow.com.

The fire department had staged two medic units on scene, with utility vehicles to transport stricken runners from the course, but called in an additional six ambulances around 9:30 a.m., O’Bryant said. The ambulance bus was called in shortly thereafter.

O’Bryant described the response as a “strike force” response, one level below a mass-casualty incident. All of the sirens were enough to attract the attention of Crystal City residents, one of whom took to Twitter to ask about it.

During the incident five ambulances from Fairfax, Alexandria and Reagan National Airport filled in as mutual aid at Arlington fire stations, said O’Bryant.

Last year, during much cooler weather, ACFD only transported five Army Ten Miler runners to Virginia Hospital Center, he said.

Photo via John Sonderman/Flickr. Hat tip to Jim H.

by ARLnow.com October 5, 2017 at 3:45 pm 0

A cigarette reportedly sparked a fire that has closed the patio at Freddie’s Beach Bar in Crystal City.

The fire was reported last night around 10:30 p.m. The fire department quickly arrived on scene and extinguished the flames, which scorched parts of the patio and its awning, owner Freddie Lutz told ARLnow.com.

Patrons were evacuated during the fire and no injuries were reported.

The bar, located at 555 23rd Street S., expects to open as usual at 4 p.m. today, though the patio will remain closed indefinitely, pending repairs, Lutz said.

by ARLnow.com October 4, 2017 at 3:00 pm 0

Numerous Arlington County Fire Department units are arriving at the Courthouse Metro station to investigate a report of smoke in the station.

The fire department says there is an arcing insulator near the station and firefighters are gathering on the platform level. There is a “slight haze” in the station, according to scanner traffic.

Drivers should expect road closures in the area due to the emergency response and Metro riders should expect delays on the Orange and Silver lines. A Metro emergency response team is en route to the station.

by ARLnow.com September 28, 2017 at 1:25 pm 0

Firefighters extinguished a fire inside an apartment in Rosslyn around lunchtime today.

The fire broke out at the Oakwood apartments on the 1500 block of Clarendon Blvd, video released by the Arlington County Fire Department shows. Arriving units found a “small fire in [the] kitchen area” and extinguished it, ACFD said.

County fire marshals are investigating the cause of the blaze.

Police helped to direct traffic during the incident as Clarendon Blvd was blocked by the emergency response.

by ARLnow.com September 28, 2017 at 9:30 am 0

A malfunctioning elevator at the Ballston Metro station made for an unpleasant morning commute for a woman at the Ballston Metro station Thursday.

The woman was trapped inside the station’s elevator at ground level after the doors would not open.

The Arlington County Fire Department was called and firefighters used the “jaws of life,” a heavy-duty hydraulic tool, to pry open the elevator doors. The started passenger was then able to squeeze out of the gap between the doors, where she was evaluated by paramedics.

ACFD posted a video of the incident on its Twitter account.

by ARLnow.com September 25, 2017 at 4:05 pm 0

All lanes of S. Walter Reed Drive are closed in the area of Four Mile Run Drive due to a major crash.

The wreck happened just before 3:45 p.m. Monday on the steep hill leading down to Four Mile Run Drive. Initial reports suggest that at least three vehicles were involved and at least two people were hurt and are being transported to the hospital.

At least one of the vehicles overturned as a result of the crash, which knocked down utility poles and wires.

A number of people witnessed the crash. Witnesses reportedly told police that one of the drivers crossed into oncoming traffic at a high rate of speed.

Map (top) via Google Maps

by Chris Teale September 21, 2017 at 3:45 pm 0

The Arlington County Fire Department helped out on a structure fire call at the SunTrust Bank in Seven Corners this morning.

ACFD sent units to the bank at 6300 Leesburg Pike around 11 a.m. to assist Fairfax County Fire & Rescue with the reported electrical fire. The bank is near Route 7’s intersection with Arlington Blvd and close to the Eden Center.

Firefighters arrived on scene and saw smoke at the back of the building. A small electrical panel caught fire, and crews determined it had not spread, according to Fairfax County authorities.

Firefighters ventilated the building to remove lingering smoke on two floors. No injuries were reported.

Photos 1-3 by Sinti Asmare. Photos No. 4 and No. 5 via Google Maps.

by ARLnow.com September 18, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

County Board Approves Construction Contracts — At its meeting Saturday, the Arlington County Board approved a pair of contracts: a $2.5 million contract to build phase two of the Washington Blvd Trail project and a $6.6 million contract to remove an elevated roadway through part of Crystal City. [Arlington County]

Firefighters Save Kittens — “A passerby heard the kittens crying from a compost box and saw one of them with its neck stuck between the posts. The Good Samaritan flagged down a nearby firetruck and the firefighters were able to free the kittens. Animal Control was then called to the scene to help locate all of the kittens and bring them to safety.” [WJLA]

Lubber Run Community Center Design OKed — The County Board has given its approval to the conceptual design for the new Lubber Run Community Center and park, which will replace the original community center, built in 1956. The next steps in the $48 million project are for the design to be completed and the facility to be built. [Arlington County, InsideNova]

Arlington Company Raises $42 Million — Ballston-based Federated Wireless, which creates shared spectrum technology for the wireless industry, has raised $42 million in Series B investment. [VC News Daily]

‘Kayaktivists’ Protest Near Pentagon — A group of ‘kayaktivist’ protesters raised banners that said “Stop War on Planet” and “No Wars for Oil” in the Pentagon Lagoon, near the Pentagon and Columbia Marina, yesterday. [Facebook]

Victories for Yorktown, Wakefield — The Yorktown (3-0) and Wakefield (2-1) varsity football teams both won at home this weekend. Washington-Lee (0-3) lost and remains winless. [InsideNova]

Flickr pool photo by Jim Webster

by ARLnow.com September 15, 2017 at 12:10 pm 0

For at least the second time this week, a large contingent of Arlington County Fire Department vehicles has descended on the Rosslyn Metro station for a report of a track fire.

Initial reports suggest there is an arcing insulator somewhere in the tunnel between the Rosslyn and Foggy Bottom stations — a seemingly persistent problem that has not been resolved by Metro’s extensive SafeTrack maintenance catch-up program.

Since a woman died on a Yellow Line train that filled with smoke near the L’enfant Metro station in 2015, ACFD sends the cavalry — a full “transportation incident” response — every time there is a report of smoke in a tunnel or fire on the tracks.

Shortly after arriving on scene, firefighters determined that there was no smoke in the Rosslyn station and that Metro’s emergency maintenance team would be taking the lead in resolving what was described as a minor track fire. Most fire department units are going back to their stations.

N. Moore Street is closed in front of the Metro station as a result of the emergency response. Metro riders should expect delays on the Blue, Orange and Silver lines.

by Chris Teale September 14, 2017 at 5:30 pm 0

Bishop Michael Burbidge, leader of the Catholic Diocese of Arlington, will celebrate mass in honor of all first responders on Saturday afternoon.

The service, set for 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, September 16 at the Cathedral of Saint Thomas More (3901 N. Cathedral Lane), is known as the Blue Mass, a tradition that began in 1934 in D.C.

All police departments and fire and rescue departments in the Diocese of Arlington — comprised of 69 parishes in Northern Virginia — are expected to attend to remember colleagues fallen in the line of duty and pray for those on duty.

“Our first responders offer daily and dedicated service to protect us and our community,” Burbidge said in a statement. “We are most grateful for the selfless sacrifices they make and pray that God will bless and watch over them always.”

Deputy Chief Daniel Murray of the Arlington County Police Department said he will attend, alongside other directors, chiefs, officers and family members.

“We are very appreciative of the diocese recognizing the important functions the first responder community performs,” Murray said in a statement.

Photo courtesy Arlington Catholic Herald

by ARLnow.com September 13, 2017 at 3:40 pm 0

Update at 4:40 p.m. — Most fire department units are picking up and returning to their stations as Metro crews work to resolve the track issue.

Earlier: A platoon of Arlington County Fire Department units are on scene at the Rosslyn Metro station for a report of a fire on the tracks.

Initial reports suggest that the fire is an arcing insulator somewhere between Rosslyn and Foggy Bottom, and that trains are turning around to avoid it. No smoke has been reported in the Rosslyn station.

Metro riders should expect delays on the Blue, Orange and Silver lines. Police are closing N. Moore Street to traffic due to the fire response.

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