64°Light Drizzle

by Lindsay Smith — July 15, 2016 at 4:45 pm 0

Spotluck event with AFACWhether you’re a busy adult or a teen who’s been sitting on the couch since the end of the school year, there are many opportunities to volunteer in and around Arlington this summer.

The Arlington Food Assistance Center is looking for volunteers to help with everything from bagging to food drives and more. Teens above the age of 14 (or under 14 with parental supervision) are welcome to help out.

If you are at least 13, you and a parent can volunteer at So Others Might Eat in D.C. This organization runs food drives and dining rooms that provide food to the homeless.

If you are at least 16 years old, you can work at the iCan Bike Camp, which is coming to Kenmore Middle School from August 1-5. Volunteers are needed to help disabled children learn to ride bikes.

Arlington Science Focus School needs help shelving books in the library from July 11 until August 12. This can include working a single day from 8:30-11:30 a.m., or signing up for more than one day of work.

The Falls Church Volunteer Fire Department needs both administrative assistants and firefighters or EMTs. For those who lack the stomach or physical ability to participate in emergency operations, working as an administrative member entails record keeping, fund raising, and other support functions. For those who live for excitement, being an operational volunteer means being prepared to put out fires and save lives.

Back on My Feet, a nonprofit that’s fighting homelessness through running, is co-sponsoring the Crystal City Twilighter 5K race on Saturday, July 23. Volunteers are needed to help with the bag drop and to man water stops along the course.

The Playtime Project needs volunteers to play games, read books, and create art projects with homeless children while their mothers participate in skills workshops. Volunteers must make a two hour weekly commitment for at least six months.

D.C. Central Kitchen needs volunteers to help turn 3,000 pounds of food each day into 5,000 balanced meals for homeless residents of the District.

Every Saturday and Sunday, the Arlington-based Lost Dog and Cat Rescue Foundation needs dog and cat handlers for adoption events. More volunteer opportunities are available through Lost Dog as well.

There are also some positions that require volunteers be at least 21 years old.

This includes being a CrisisLink Hotline volunteer, a job which requires empathy and a commitment of 50 hours of training and 150 hours of service. Volunteers can earn college credit and receive letters of recommendation.

This also includes signing up to be part of the Brew Crew in Lorton. On Saturday, August 13, the inaugural Workhouse BrewFest needs people to help with admission, greeting, pouring and more.

More volunteer opportunities can be found through the Volunteer Arlington website.

by ARLnow.com — July 12, 2016 at 4:45 pm 0

Firefighters and a couple of extinguisher-wielding workers made quick work of a smoky garage fire along Columbia Pike this morning.

Arlington County firefighters were dispatched to a report of a fire on the 1800 block of Columbia Pike, near Washington Blvd, around 9:45 a.m.

Upon arriving units found a small fire in a screened-in patio area attached to a home’s detached garage. The fire had scorched the roofline of the patio and part of the garage, but had been kept in check by an off-duty Prince George’s County firefighter and a Dominion Power worker who were working on the block and spotted the smoke, according to a fire department spokesman.

The workers used a fire extinguisher to battle the flames. A resident was inside the home at the time and may have been alerted to the fire by a passerby. No injuries were reported.

Deputy Fire Marshal Paul Frank described the damage as minimal, mostly confined to the roof of the structure. He said a preliminary investigation indicates that the fire may have been caused by Christmas lights that were being used as “permanent mood lighting” for the porch. The lights likely ignited some plastic blinds, he said.

Using Christmas lights as permanent lighting is “inadvisable,” said Frank.

by ARLnow.com — July 12, 2016 at 8:30 am 0

Golden hour in Shirlington

Board to Consider Arts Grants — The Arlington County Board on Saturday is set to consider its latest round of annual grants to local arts organizations. Among the 18 organizations being allocated a portion of the $215,810 in financial support for the arts are the Arlington Arts Center ($20,547), Bowen McCauley Dance ($27,237), Encore Stage and Studio ($24,715) and Washington Shakespeare Company ($24,247). [Arlington County]

ACFD Says Thanks for Fire Staffing — The Arlington County Fire Department thanked residents yesterday for fully funding safe fire truck staffing levels and an additional peak-time medic unit with the county’s latest Fiscal Year 2017 budget. The new budget took effect July 1. [Twitter]

Landscapers Volunteer at Arlington National — A group of some 400 professional landscapers from around the country volunteered their time at Arlington National Cemetery on Monday to help spruce up the grounds. The annual event is organized by the National Association of Landscape Professionals. [WTOP]

Extended Construction Hours for Ballston Project — The County Board will consider a proposal by Marymount University and developer the Shooshan Company to temporarily extend the construction hours at the “Blue Goose” project in Ballston. The proposal would extend construction hours to 1:30 a.m. for eight weeks, to allow nighttime deliveries of construction materials that would otherwise require lane closures on Glebe Road and Fairfax Drive during the day. [InsideNova]

Lane Closures on GW Parkway — Expect single lane closures on the northbound GW Parkway, 2.5 miles north of Key Bridge, due to repair work on a stone wall along the Parkway. The closures will be in place from 8 p.m.-5 a.m. through Wednesday. [Patch]

by Adrian Cruz — July 8, 2016 at 1:45 pm 0

The house fire in Donaldson Run that occurred on the night of July 4 was caused by discarded fireworks left in the garage, fire department officials say.

The fire caused a significant amount of damage and it highlighted the danger of unsafe firework usage. Over the Independence Day weekend, the sound of consumer fireworks could be heard all over Arlington. Despite the patriotic connotation, many Arlington residents have come to view the fireworks as more of a nuisance or safety hazard than a spectacle.

“The fire marshal did follow up on a number of complaints from neighbors that they heard fireworks, they saw fireworks that are illegal in the county,” said Arlington County Fire Department spokeswoman Lt. Sarah Marchegiani.

Although certain fireworks are legal under Virginia law, that only applies non-explosive fireworks such as sparklers and cone fountains. Any projectiles that fly up over 12 feet are also prohibited, in addition to firecrackers or other exploding fireworks.

Someone caught using illegal fireworks in Arlington could face jail time and/or a fine of up to $2,500, Marchegiani said.

This past weekend, four notices of violation were issued due to illegal usage of fireworks, according to Marchegianai. Despite the fire department adding additional staff to patrol local neighborhoods, oftentimes by the time they respond to a call, the displays are over.

“It’s more than we can handle,” she said.

When it comes to fireworks, Marchegiani recommends that residents take precautions to ensure their safe usage.

“Even legal fireworks can be dangerous, they can cause burns or eye injuries and they’re also a fire hazard,” she said. “When you ignite fireworks, you want to make sure you wear them down completely, put them in a bucket of water, make sure they’re cool and extinguished completely. Its a similar idea to when you’re smoking, make sure the butt’s out completely.”

This year, there were no reported injuries caused by fireworks.

by ARLnow.com — July 6, 2016 at 4:05 pm 0

Arlington County firefighters are responding to a two-alarm blaze at a restaurant in Alexandria’s Del Ray neighborhood.

The second alarm was sounded just before 4 p.m.

The mutual aid call is for a fire at Al’s Steak House (1504 Mt. Vernon Avenue), which reopened today after a months-long hiatus, according to an article published on Del Ray Patch less than an hour ago.

by ARLnow.com — July 5, 2016 at 10:30 am 0

(Updated at 11:30 a.m.) Firefighters battled a house fire in the Donaldson Run neighborhood around 10:20 p.m. last night (July 4).

The blaze broke out in the garage of a home on the 2300 block of N. Randolph Street, not far from the Stratford School (H-B Woodlawn). The fire extended into part of the home itself.

Via Twitter, the Arlington County Fire Department said that the flames were extinguished by 11:15 p.m. and all of the home’s occupants were accounted for.

Photos showed firefighters in full gear hauling pet kennels out of the home. A photographer on scene said one dog and two cats were rescued.

A fire department spokesman could not be reached for comment Tuesday morning, but ACFD sent the following tweet after the initial publication of this article.

Photos (above) courtesy Andrew Pang

by ARLnow.com — June 28, 2016 at 6:00 pm 0

Updated at 7:10 p.m. — There were 10 passengers in the stalled elevator, we’re told. They were freed after about 40 minutes on the elevator.

Earlier: A large number of fire department vehicles have responded to the Courthouse Metro station for a possible elevator issue.

Initial, unconfirmed reports suggest a number of people are stuck on an elevator that’s filling with smoke due to an electrical or mechanical malfunction. There’s also a report of light smoke in an elevator service room.

Firefighters and Metro elevator technicians are working to safely get the elevator to ground level, where the passengers can be evaluated by paramedics, according to scanner traffic.

There is thus far no indication that Metrorail service has been affected.

by ARLnow.com — June 20, 2016 at 4:05 pm 0

Arlington County police and firefighters are on the scene of a reported grease spill in East Falls Church.

A truck leaking a slippery substance has prompted a number of road or lane closures in the area of Lee Highway and Washington Blvd, according to social media reports.

Update at 4:10 p.m. — A fire department radio transmission described the leak as having come from a “sewage truck.”

Update at 4:15 p.m. — A multi-vehicle crash is also being reported in the area.

Update at 4:35 p.m. — A photographer on scene says the grease leaked from a tanker truck containing cooking oil.

Photos (top) courtesy Andrew Pang

by Michael Doyle — June 16, 2016 at 5:30 pm 0

Penny Ingles (photo by Michael Doyle)Arlington resident Penny Ingles needed a mid-life course correction.

So she picked up the javelin, of all things, and now the career firefighter who turns 40 on Friday is standing out, in more ways than one.

“It’s not every day you see a firefighter with javelin in hand,” Ingles acknowledged.

A captain with the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service, currently serving as Metro’s fire department liaison, Ingles has been preparing for the U.S. Police & Fire Championships to be held June 18-25 in San Diego.

She aims to win.

Last year, months after she first started training with coach Daniel Colina, Ingles placed second in her age group at the World Police and Fire Games in Fairfax with a javelin throw of 16.25 meters. She likewise placed second in her uncrowded age group at the USA Track & Field Masters Outdoor Championships held in Jacksonville.

Ingles has successfully hefted other events, as well, including the hammer throw, shot put and various weight throws. Along the way, she’s lost weight, won medals and made herself over, several decades after competing on the Yorktown High School track and field team.

“This has been a tough road, being an adult learner,” Ingles said. “I will sometimes get discouraged because I am not throwing as far as I think I should. My coach has to remind me javelin takes years of practice to learn and master.”

Ingles started from scratch, as must others. Only 18 states currently allow javelin at the high school level, and Virginia is not among them. The fear of spears dropping down like errant drone strikes also complicated Ingles’ search for an Arlington practice field.

“‘You can’t be throwing that around here,'” Ingles said, recounting the typical response from various authorities.

For the sake of perspective, the qualifying distance for women’s javelin at this year’s U.S. Olympic Team try-outs is 54 meters. So far, Ingles’ personal best is about 18 meters. On the other hand, javelin is not strictly the prerogative of youth. Last year, a Long Beach, California police detective in her late 40s out-threw all other women competitors at the U.S. Police & Fire Championships.

Raw will counts.

“Penny is very competitive, oh my goodness,” said Colina, an Arlington resident who set a school javelin record at Keene State College in New Hampshire. “She’s someone who has high goals. Whether she has a 12, 15 or 18-hour shift, she’ll still come back and train.”

On a recent weeknight, Ingles arrived for her weekly session at Chinquapin Park next to T.C. Williams High School. Earlier that day, she had juggled myriad emergencies. A Metro worker had collapsed near the East Falls Church station. A wheelchair-bound person had fallen onto the train tracks. A few insignificant fires needed extinguishing.

After changing into her workout clothes, Ingles conferred with Colina. She is recovering from a foot injury, so must account for that. After some warmups, she laced her high-top spiked shoes and took up her javelin: A seven-foot, four-inch domesticated weapon that weighs 600 grams and places unusual demands.

“Javelin,” Ingles said, “is extremely technical.”

Throws, Corina explained, should be launched at a 37-degree angle, with adjustments for wind conditions. He reminded Ingles to keep the javelin “glued to the temple” as she prepared to toss. The run-up and launch itself is an exercise in controlled aggression, a test of core strength and flexibility. Injuries are but one quick twist away.

“The javelin throw in particular is such a violent motion, when you generate speed and then almost have to come to a sudden stop, and use your hips to drive forward again,” Colina noted.

Together, while the sun settled, Ingles and Colina advanced up and down the Chinquapin Park field: The firefighter throwing, the coach guiding, both perfecting their atypical craft.

“I like the fact that I compete with other people who are older than I,” Ingles said, “just really special older people who have the drive to do their best, not necessarily to win.”

Michael Doyle is a reporter in the Washington bureau of McClatchy newspapers. Follow him at @MichaelDoyle10.

by ARLnow.com — June 7, 2016 at 4:50 pm 0

A car caught fire this afternoon in a parking lot at Washington-Lee High School.

The fire broke out around 4:30 p.m. Arlington County firefighters responded to the scene and quickly extinguished the flames in the car’s engine compartment.

The car appeared to be an older red Mustang convertible. No injuries were reported.

by ARLnow.com — June 1, 2016 at 2:35 pm 0

The Arlington County Fire Department is on scene of a reported electrical fire in the basement of Thai Square Restaurant (3217 Columbia Pike).

Firefighters responded to the restaurant just before 1:30 p.m. for a report of smoke coming from the basement. There were no visible flames when firefighters arrived; the source of the smoke was believed to be electrical in nature.

The building was evacuated and no injuries have been reported.

Columbia Pike was shut down between S. Walter Reed Drive and S. Glebe Road as a result of the fire department response. Lanes have since reopened.

Photos courtesy Andrew Pang

by ARLnow.com — June 1, 2016 at 7:30 am 0

Firefighters battled a house fire two blocks from Thomas Jefferson Middle School this morning.

The fire broke out around 6:30 a.m. near the intersection of 1st Road S. and S. Glebe Road.

Firefighters were able to extinguish the flames within 15-20 minutes. One person was treated by paramedics as a result of the blaze.

by ARLnow.com — May 31, 2016 at 11:00 am 0

A Mini Cooper slammed into the front of the Capital One Bank on King Street near Fairlington this morning.

The incident happened around 10 a.m. It was the second time the driver of a vehicle lost control and crashed into a retailer at the Bradlee Shopping Center in the past two weeks. An SUV drove through the front of the shopping plaza’s Hallmark store on Friday, May 20.

Some damage to the bank’s row of ATMs was visible. No injuries were reported.

Arlington County firefighters assisted Alexandria units at the scene.

Photos via @AlexFD_SOC

by ARLnow.com — May 24, 2016 at 9:15 am 0

Volleyball in Fairlington (Flickr pool photo by James L.)

McAuliffe Under Investigation — Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) is being investigated by the FBI and the Justice Department for possible illegal campaign contributions. [CNN]

Board Accepting Feedback on Blue Ribbon Panel — The County Board’s so-called Blue Ribbon Panel was supposed to help the Board set county priorities without getting bogged down in bureaucracy and process. Instead, the panel’s implementation has been delayed and the county is now asking for public feedback on the panel and its charge. [Arlington County]

The Legacy of ACFD’s First Black Firefighters — The Halls Hill/High View Park community held an event this past weekend to honor the Arlington County Fire Department’s first black professional firefighters. Some members of the original group of 14 black firefighters to staff Arlington’s Fire Station No. 8 were on hand for the event. [InsideNova]

Don Rockwell Profiled — Don Rockwell, the mysterious proprietor of the influential Don Rockwell online restaurant forum, lives along Columbia Pike and dines out just about every day for lunch and dinner. At the end of the profile, Rockwell lists some of his favorite local restaurants and dishes. [Arlington Magazine]

Rosslyn Tops for Bike to Work Day — The Rosslyn Bike to Work Day pit stop was utilized by 972 cyclists this year, making it the busiest pit stop in the D.C. region. [Twitter]

Flickr pool photo by James L.

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