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.
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.”
— Arlington Fire (@ACFDPIO) August 19, 2015
Photo courtesy @B_Flipn
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
(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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Update: 2600 blk Crystal Dr, small computer fire on the balcony has been extinguished, units working on smoke removal
— Arlington Fire (@ACFDPIO) July 24, 2015
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.
— Chief 288 (@Chief288) July 21, 2015
— Sophie Pyle (@sophiepyle) July 21, 2015
— Lucien Zeigler (@lucienzeigler) July 21, 2015
Photo (top) courtesy Sophie Pyle
Community Pushes Back on Fire Station Plan — Arlington County Board members are hearing an earful from residents who live around Fire Station 8 on Lee Highway. The county is considering relocating the station to improve fire response times in far northern neighborhoods. However, residents say the fire station is historic because it was the first in Virginia to be staffed mostly by professional black firefighters, in the 1950s, and should not be moved. [InsideNova, WTOP]
Kojo and Kaine in Crystal City — WAMU’s Kojo Nnamdi will host a “Kojo in the Community” discussion with Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) tonight. “The discussion will focus on the ways in which the military and defense industry shape our region, ranging from jobs and the economy to infrastructure and traffic,” organizers say. The talk will take place at Synetic Theater in Crystal City. [ARLnow Events]
New Restaurant at DCA — Former “Top Chef” finalist Carla Hall has opened a new 110-seat restaurant in Reagan National Airport’s Terminal A. The menu features contemporary American cuisine with a Southern flair. [Eater, Washington Business Journal]
Now Showing: Shrek, the Musical — Arlington’s Encore Stage and Studio is currently performing Shrek, the Musical at Thomas Jefferson Community Theater. The family-friendly show runs through Sunday. [DC Metro Theater Arts]
Bunnies Galore Near Clarendon — There sure are a lot of bunnies around Clarendon these days, at least according to some concerned bunny spotters who have contacted us about it. Now, there’s some photographic proof. [Twitter]
Update at 4:00 p.m. on 7/2/15 — The advisory for Four Mile Run will be lifted on July 4, Arlington County says.
Arlington County is warning people and their pets to avoid the waters of Four Mile Run below S. Walter Reed Drive, for now.
An unknown petroleum product was discovered in the stream this morning, just before 11 a.m. The Arlington County Fire Department’s hazardous materials team used booms to try to contain the spill, while firefighters and the county’s Dept. of Environmental Services investigated the source.
The size of the spill has not been determined and authorities are warning against making contact with the contaminated water, particularly at the nearby Shirlington dog park.
“The public is advised to stay away from the affected water and to keep pets away until further notice, to eliminate the risk of exposure to petroleum products in the stream,” the county said in a press release. “People should not fish in the stream or have any contact with the water – including wading or swimming – until further notice from the County. The advisory to avoid all contact is considered an extra precaution to allow the effect of the discharge to be diminished by natural flushing of the streams.”
The fire department, meanwhile, has been tweeting about the incident.
— Arlington Fire (@ACFDPIO) July 1, 2015
@MrAndersonELA product was coming from a culvert draining into the creek. Probably originated from being dumped or washed into a manhole.
— Arlington Fire (@ACFDPIO) July 1, 2015
Update- Although contained, residual product is still in creek. Dogs and their owners should avoid being in the creek until further notice.
— Arlington Fire (@ACFDPIO) July 1, 2015
Update: Product is contained. 1 source identified. Investigation for additional sources continues. County will issue press release shortly.
— Arlington Fire (@ACFDPIO) July 1, 2015
Photo courtesy ACFD
Tomorrow night (June 25) Arlington will hold the first of four planned meetings to discuss the relocation of Fire Station 8.
Last May, the county proposed a plan to move the fire station from Lee Highway to a county-owned green space near Marymount University on Old Dominion Drive. The Old Dominion Civic Association said it was “blind-sided” by the plan, and raised an outcry that prompted the county to reevaluate.
The Arlington County Fire Department wants to relocate Fire Station 8 further north in order to achieve their goal of four to six minute response times throughout the county. Arlington County studies conducted in 2000 and 2012 both indicated that while response times in most of the county met this goal, the northern part of the county was underserved and would benefit from having a fire station closer by.
At the meeting tomorrow night, residents will hear an overview of the issue from county staff, as well as the criteria and constraints for selecting a new fire station location. Residents will have the opportunity to give feedback.
“[The] process to select a site for the relocated FS8 will include dialogue with community stakeholders, including civic associations within the service area and other members of the public wishing to participate,” according to the county website. “The process will include a discussion of County needs; siting consideration and criteria; and evaluation of alternate sites within the service area.”
On Thursday, July 30, county staff plan to recap previous meeting results and provide another opportunity for community members to weigh in on alternative sites for the fire station. At this meeting, the county staff also plan to outline the process they will use to review the list of potential sites.
At the final meeting, currently scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 9, county staff will formulate a recommendation to be presented to the County Board.
The meeting tomorrow will be at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church (2609 N Glebe Rd) from 7-9 p.m. There will be a meeting at St. Mary’s at the same time on July 9 recapping the first for any who were unable to attend.
Photo via Arlington County Fire Department
(Updated at 11:40 a.m.) A two-story building on the 2700 block of Columbia Pike caught fire at about 10:00 a.m. Tuesday.
The building, the headquarters of High Sierra Pools and former location of Ski Chalet, was safely evacuated, according to scanner traffic and company employees on the scene. Forty minutes after the fire was first reported, firefighters have contained it. Smoke stopped coming out of the building at around 10:40 a.m.
Fire and rescue crews from Fairfax and Alexandria joined the Arlington County Fire Department to battle the flames. The Pike is shut down from S. Walter Reed Drive to Barton Street to accommodate the large response, and ACFD Capt. David Santini expects it to be shut down past noon.
Santini said High Sierra Pools employees smelled smoke and called 911 at 10:05 a.m. When fire crews arrived, they found the fire had originated in the space between the roof and the second floor ceiling.
“We called a second alarm because of the intense work needed to gain access to the roof,” Santini said. “There were heavy fire conditions and we had to tear up several sections to gain ventilation.”
So far, Santini said there’s no estimate on the damage to the building, and inspectors are conducting an investigation to determine the fire’s cause.
The building’s exterior, from the street, looks largely unaffected by the fire, save for a few scorch marks on the roof.
Metrorail service is suspended between Rosslyn and Foggy Bottom due to a reported arcing insulator outside the Foggy Bottom station.
Firefighters were originally called to the Rosslyn station around 8:20 a.m. for a report of smoke in the station.
The station was evacuated but first responders only found a slight odor of smoke, according to Arlington County Fire Department spokesman Lt. Sarah Marchegiani.
Having not found any smoke or fire in Rosslyn, Arlington firefighters are currently scaling back their initially large response. However, Arlington police remain on scene, assisting with crowd control.
Large crowds of commuters seeking alternate means of transportation have been reported outside the Rosslyn station and other Arlington stations along the Orange Line.
— JensueFerrell (@JensueFerrell) May 11, 2015
Outside Rosslyn Metro pic.twitter.com/o1S4DsuGSd
— Elizabeth Widas (@emt211) May 11, 2015
— Valerie Insinna (@ValerieInsinna) May 11, 2015
— Kymberly Escobar (@kymesco) May 11, 2015
— David Hawkins (@khnashi) May 11, 2015
— Ashley Pratte (@AshPratte) May 11, 2015
— Micah Himmel (@Micah_Himmel) May 11, 2015
Photo (top) via @WashingtonFlack
(Updated at 2:45 p.m.) One person died after a vehicle ran down an embankment on the GW Parkway early Saturday morning.
A technical rescue team from the Arlington County Fire Department responded to the single-vehicle crash.
The vehicle was located 100 feet down an embankment, with one person dead inside, according to a fire department spokesperson. No other injuries were reported.
The parkway remained closed between Spout Run and Route 123 for much of the morning while U.S. Park Police investigated the crash. Lanes reopened around 10:00 a.m., WTOP reported.