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by ARLnow.com April 15, 2018 at 2:05 pm 0

The Sunday brunch scene at Ambar in Clarendon (2901 Wilson Blvd) was a bit too hot this afternoon.

A fire broke out at the popular restaurant today around 12:30 p.m. Initial reports suggest that a rooftop air handler caught fire; smoke and flames could be seen coming from the roof.

Wilson Blvd and N. Fillmore Street were shut down during the fire department response. Firefighters extinguished the blaze just before 1 p.m.

“Minor smoke conditions” were reported inside the restaurant, which also has a basement lounge called Baba. There was no report of injuries.

More via Twitter:

by ARLnow.com April 14, 2018 at 10:45 pm 0

Firefighters extinguished a house fire in Arlington’s East Falls Church neighborhood tonight.

“Heavy fire” was reported in the rear of a home in the 2300 block of N. Quantico Street. Firefighters were able to extinguish the flames before the blaze could could spread to the interior of the house.

No injuries were reported.

by Bridget Reed Morawski April 13, 2018 at 3:45 pm 0

Update at 4:15 p.m. — The Arlington County Police Department has released surveillance images of a man they say broke into the store and then set fire to it.

From ACPD:

The Arlington County Police Department’s Burglary/Larceny Unit is seeking the public’s assistance in identifying and locating a burglary and arson suspect captured on surveillance camera. At approximately 4:14 a.m. on April 13, the Arlington County Fire Department responded to the report of a structure fire in the 2600 block of Columbia Pike. After extinguishing the fire, the Fire Marshall responded to conduct an investigation and requested the assistance of the Arlington County Police Department. The investigation determined that at approximately 3:22 a.m., the suspect forced entry into the business and stole merchandise before intentionally setting a fire and fleeing the area on foot.

The suspect is described as a heavy-set male, 30-40 years old, approximately 5’10” to 6’0″ tall and weighing 300 pounds. He has a full beard and a bald spot. He was wearing glasses, a light shirt, dark colored jeans and a backpack at the time of the incident.

Anyone with information on the identity of these individuals or details surrounding this incident is asked to contact Detective T. Parsons of the Arlington County Police Department’s Burglary/Larceny Unit at 703-228-4172 or [email protected] To report information anonymously, contact the Arlington County Crime Solvers at 866.411.TIPS (8477).

Earlier: A fire was extinguished in the early morning hours this morning (Friday) at a business on Columbia Pike, according to the fire department.

Fourteen fire department units responded to the call on the 2600 block of Columbia Pike just before 4:15 a.m., after a passerby spotted the fire and called 911, according to a department spokesman.

The fire was out by 4:21 a.m. and there were no reported injuries.

The Fire Marshall was on scene and is investigating the cause, according to the spokesman. The fire was at Legend Kicks & Apparel, we’re told, and photos from the scene show firefighters at the storefront.

An online listing for the business indicates that the shoe store recently opened.

The block is also home to Le Touche Beauty Salon and The Salsa Room. The Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse is nearby, on another block.

Photos via Arlington County Fire Department

by Bridget Reed Morawski April 13, 2018 at 2:15 pm 0

Three shrubs caught on fire beside George Mason University’s Bill of Rights Eagle in Virginia Square.

The fire broke out on this afternoon (Friday) just before 1 p.m., engulfing the shrubbery and a patch of mulch. The flames were quickly extinguished by responding firefighters, and a college employee said that it wasn’t a major incident. Classes were in session at the time but there was not report of any evacuation.

A facilities worker told ARLnow.com that the flames were three feet high, and that a glass office window adjacent to the fire was cracked as a result.

Another facilities worker, who said that he had worked for the college for the past 20 years, said that the college’s shrubbery had never caught on fire before.

He added that his colleagues had not seen anything odd in the area prior to the fire, but that several people tripped and fell while running away.

Unveiled last May with much fanfare, the GMU Antonin Scalia Law School’s “Bill of Rights Eagle” did not appear to suffer any damage from the fire.

Warm weather has helped spark a number of small mulch and grass fires around Arlington over the past day or so.

by ARLnow.com April 9, 2018 at 10:00 am 0

First Responders Say Starting Pay Is Too Low — “Patrick Gorman was just beginning to enjoy his job as an Arlington, Va., police officer when he decided to quit. His wife was pregnant with twins, and they already had a 2-year-old. Even with both working full time, he said, they couldn’t afford to live in the area. Two months out of training, he left the department in February and moved to North Carolina.” [Washington Post]

Large Arlington Contingent for Boston Marathon — Some 77 runners from Arlington are set to compete in the prestigious Boston Marathon a week from today. [InsideNova]

Public Safety Personnel Recognized for Crisis Interventions — “Four Arlington County police officers, two sheriff’s deputies, and a 9-1-1 dispatcher were honored this week for their exemplary work in responding to people in a mental health crisis when on a call or on the job.” [Arlington County]

Spotted: Michael Irvin — Former Dallas Cowboys great Michael Irvin was spotted hanging out at Champps on Pentagon Row over the weekend. [Twitter]

Rosslyn Hotel Opening Brings Up HQ2 — It’s difficult to find an economic development event in Northern Virginia these days that doesn’t spark discussions of Amazon’s HQ2. At an opening for the new Homewood Suites hotel in Rosslyn, Arlington Economic Development Director Victor Hoskins remarked that “you’d have to build, like, 10 more of these” if Amazon were to come to Arlington. [Washington Business Journal]

ARLnow Doesn’t Have a Wikipedia Page — Did you know that despite being around for more than eight years, and being cited as a source in plenty of Wikipedia pages, ARLnow does not have its own page? With Facebook now starting to use Wikipedia as a signaling mechanism for trustworthiness, now would be a great time for someone to finally give ARLnow its own Wikipedia entry. Pretty please?

by ARLnow.com April 6, 2018 at 8:55 am 0

ACFD Battles Kitchen Fire — Arlington County firefighters last night extinguished a kitchen fire in an apartment building on the 1900 block of N. Calvert Street, just north of Lee Highway and east of Spout Run. No injuries were reported. [Twitter, Twitter]

Taylor P.E. Teacher Pleads to Drug Charge — A second former P.E. teacher at Taylor Elementary School has pleaded guilty to charges stemming from a drug bust in December. Michael Diaddigo, 28, will reportedly “serve 1 of a 12-months jail sentence if he follows probation, which includes a $500 fine and substance abuse treatment.” [Twitter]

Central Place Bus Tunnel Still Closed — “A bus tunnel in Rosslyn critical to many commuters — which Metro said more than a year ago would open in days — remains closed due to outstanding construction concerns, WTOP has learned.” [WTOP]

Lanes Closures in Crystal City Tonight — The lanes of certain roads around Crystal City will be closed for about two hours tonight to accommodate the first of the annual Crystal City 5K Friday races. [Arlington County]

Residential Parking Permit Applications — “It is now time to renew your Residential Permit Parking Program permits and passes for the new program fiscal year beginning July 1, 2018. Remember enforcement continues throughout the year, so new passes/permits must be displayed by July 1st, 2018.” [Arlington County]

Actor Says No to WJLA Interview — Amy Schumer has turned down an interview with Arlington-based TV station WJLA (ABC 7) because it is owned by Sinclair, the broadcast station owner under fire for making its anchors read a script denouncing “biased and false news” from other outlets. [Buzzfeed]

by Bridget Reed Morawski April 5, 2018 at 8:15 am 0

Service was restored between East Falls Church and Clarendon Metro stations after grinding to a halt Thursday morning (April 5) for several hours.

Service was restored at about 8 a.m., but delays are expected to last at least throughout the morning. Metro referred to the incident as both a track problem and fire department activity at the Virginia Square Metro station.

The Arlington Fire Department tweeted that the Virginia Square Metro station was evacuated at about 6:20 a.m. due to smoke in the tunnel.

At about 6:58 a.m., the department tweeted that fire department units were going back in service, that much of the smoke was clear, and that commuters should expect “residual delays.”

The suspended service affects the Orange and Silver lines directly, though Metro tweeted that blue line delays were possible considering the congestion built up from the other lines.

On the highways, drivers reported heavier than usual traffic.

“We all suffer when the Metro fudges up,” one driver told ARLnow, who was stuck on I-66 in what she said was unusually heavy traffic for that part of her commute.

Several would-be riders took to Twitter to report long lines for WMATA buses and shuttles, as well as a general sense of “chaos” and “meltdown” at certain stations.

File photo

by Bridget Reed Morawski April 4, 2018 at 9:45 am 0

Police and fire officials flooded last night’s (April 3) budget hearing to speak out against stagnant wages.

Public safety personnel say that police and fire wages are too low to allow them to live in Arlington long-term. Many are joining up, but soon realizing that their pay is insufficient to live in the county and raise a family.

The starting salary for a firefighter in Arlington is $48,000, while an entry-level police officer makes just under $53,000, according to organizers of last night’s demonstration.

A recent study found that single Arlingtonians can live comfortably on just over $56,000 a year; a couple with two children can live comfortably with just under $114,000 per year.

The proposed 2019 budget includes a four percent raise for ACFD but only a two-and-a-half percent raise for ACPD.

A “strategic restructuring” is in the works at the Arlington County Police Department, as its functional strength falls well below its authorized force. Recruiting has been a challenge, officials say.

Matthew Martin, the Arlington Police Beneficiary Association president, said that the department currently operating with 44 officers below full strength. That’s about two full patrol squads, according to the association.

‘Your police department is in trouble,” said Martin. “We can’t recruit and retain the high-quality officers that we need.”

The high turnover itself is a financial problem, as the department must then pay for recruiting and training the short-time officers, forcing the county to advertise job opportunities on billboards as far away as suburban Pittsburgh.

Ashley Savage, the police department spokeswoman, told the Tribune-Review that the billboard campaign “eventually will cover territory from Youngstown, Ohio, to Cleveland and from Pittsburgh to Harrisburg.”

Matt Quinn, a financial crimes unit detective who has been on the force for 12 years, said that since there are not enough officers for core services it’s hard even for those who don’t leave the department to move up.

“We have to focus on our core services, which is patrol, which means we have to make sure that that’s taken care of before people start looking at the detective bureau or other assignments within the bureau,” Quinn said.

Arlington County will not raise property tax rates this year, but fees are set to rise for several county services and amenities while other programs are seeing their budgets cut.

IAFF Local 2800, which represents Arlington’s professional firefighters and paramedics, noted that ACFD is paid as much as 20 percent less than their nearby counterparts.

So even if the demands are met, and a four percent increase is achieved, it’s just a start in the eyes of several fire and police officials.

“I think it’s a start for the department as a whole… but definitely over the next couple years we have to work at compressing the pay scale and increasing the starting pay to attract more good candidates,” Quinn explained, saying it would be a good start in a multi-year process.

The County Board room, at capacity, was closed off shortly after opening as dozens of people — many in support of other causes, like nixing a proposed cut for Arlington Independent Media — poured in. The overflow crowd was allowed to watch and listen from the hall.

“We brought the fire department here, I think we’ll be fine,” one officer joked after the room was instructed to squeeze in to fit more people in the seats.

by ARLnow.com March 27, 2018 at 8:35 am 0

Shake Shack, Philz and More Coming to Ballston — “Ballston will beef up its fast-casual restaurant offerings by the end of this year, with Shake Shack, We the Pizza, Philz Coffee and Cava all slated to lease space in the newly dubbed Ballston Exchange project. Ballston Exchange, formerly known as Stafford Place I and II, was until 2017 home to the National Science Foundation.” [Washington Business Journal]

Outdoor Lab Squeezed by Rising Enrollment — “A growing student body at the elementary-school level may soon mean there are not enough days in the school year to send the usual cadre of students to the Arlington Outdoor Lab, located in Fauquier County.” [InsideNova]

Arlington Smoker Busted in Falls Church — Falls Church police issued a summons to a 56-year-old Arlington man for smoking in a restaurant in the city. [Falls Church News-Press]

Hamlin Leaving Macedonia Baptist Church — The Rev. Dr. Leonard Hamlin Sr. is leaving Macedonia Baptist Church in Nauck for a post at the Washington National Cathedral. “To celebrate his 22-year tenure at Macedonia, more than 300 people attended a farewell gala held March 25 at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City,” the Sun Gazette reported. [InsideNova]

Advocates Flock to Open Door Monday — Those seeking more funding in the county budget process flocked to yesterday’s regularly-scheduled Open Door Monday event with County Board member Libby Garvey. Among those bending Garvey’s ear were first responders, who are seeking higher pay, and Arlington Independent Media, which is fighting a proposed budget cut. [Twitter, Twitter]

Photo courtesy @jimcollierjr

by ARLnow.com March 26, 2018 at 8:30 am 0

Overnight House Fire in Rock Spring — The Arlington County Fire Department battled a blaze in the basement of a home in the Rock Spring neighborhood early this morning. One occupant of the home was brought to the hospital for treatment of smoke inhalation. [Twitter]

ACFD Battles Falls Church Fire — Arlington and Fairfax County firefighters battled a two-alarm house fire in Falls Church early Sunday morning. The home’s occupant was able to get out but was transported to the hospital. The house, which had “hazardous hoarding conditions” inside, it believed to be a total loss. [City of Falls Church, Falls Church News-Press]

Warner Blasts ‘Dark Underbelly of Social Media’ — Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) went on NBC’s Meet the Press over the weekend and addressed the topic of Facebook’s privacy issues and alleged Russian election interference. “I think the whole industry has been reluctant to accept the fact that we’re seeing the dark underbelly of social media, and how it can be manipulated,” Warner said, adding: “frankly, Mr. Zuckerberg needs to come and testify.” [YouTube]

Arlington on ‘Healthiest Communities’ Rankings — Arlington County ranked No. 31 on U.S. News and World Report’s new Healthiest Communities rankings. Neighboring Falls Church ranked No. 1 while the City of Fairfax ranked No. 6 and Loudoun County ranked No. 10. [WTOPU.S. News]

County Recognizes Businesses for Transportation Programs — “The Arlington County Board honored 19 local businesses and properties for their dedication to providing sustainable transportation to employees and tenants, as part of the Champions program. The program… motivates businesses, multi-family residential communities, commercial properties and schools to recognize the impact they can make on reducing traffic congestion in Arlington County.” [Arlington County]

Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman

by ARLnow.com March 21, 2018 at 3:10 pm 0

Four inches of snow has fallen in Arlington, according to the 2 p.m. snowfall total at Reagan National Airport.

The snow has led to slippery roadways and numerous closures. Though above-average temperatures and dogged work by Arlington and VDOT crews has resulted in many main roads being more wet than snow-covered as of mid-afternoon, a number of accidents and spinouts have been reported.

On a hilly stretch between Rosslyn and Courthouse this morning, at least a half dozen vehicles were stuck for upwards of 15 minutes after one driver slid down the hill, according to a witness.

Across the county, firefighters were told this afternoon to put tire chains on their vehicles to help with traction, according to scanner traffic.

Photo (top) courtesy Chris Warner

by ARLnow.com March 20, 2018 at 10:10 pm 0

A man was able to crawl out from an overturned car in the Douglas Park neighborhood Tuesday night.

The vehicle crashed just before 9 p.m. on the 1700 block of S. Quincy Street, several blocks south of Columbia Pike. The man, believed to be the driver, was briefly trapped in the vehicle but was able to “self-extricate” after firefighters arrived on scene, according to scanner traffic.

The man was evaluated for injuries by medics.

A fire department spokesman said via Twitter that drivers should be cautious on roads, which are “already slick” ahead of Wednesday’s predicted snowstorm.

by ARLnow.com March 13, 2018 at 11:00 pm 0

A two-alarm fire scorched the top floor of a small office building in Virginia Square tonight (Tuesday).

A passerby called 911 just after 7:45 p.m. to report flames and smoke coming from the building at 933 N. Kenmore Street. The blaze was extinguished thanks to an “aggressive attack” by firefighters, according to Arlington County Fire Department spokesman Capt. Ben O’Bryant, but not before causing “heavy fire damage on the fourth floor.”

Smoke and water damage was also reported on the third and second floors. No injuries were reported. The Fire Marshal’s Office is now investigating the cause.

The office, across from the George Mason University Arlington campus, houses a number of small businesses, including an insurance agent and a massage therapy center. A web search found two businesses on the fourth floor of the building: an immigration law office and long-time conservative political magazine The American Spectator.

More photos and video via social media below, after the jump.

Map via Google Maps. Video courtesy Arash Tafakor.

(more…)

by ARLnow.com March 2, 2018 at 5:00 pm 0

(Updated at 5:15 p.m.) A tree fell on a car in the Donaldson Run neighborhood Friday afternoon, amid the ongoing wind storm.

The incident happened around 4:30 p.m. on the 4200 block of Vacation Lane, not far from the Stratford building that houses the H-B Woodlawn Secondary Program.

Initial reports suggest that a tree fell on a car, trapping the driver inside and sending live power lines down across the street. Firefighters were able to extricate the driver, who was reportedly not injured, within about 15 minutes.

Vacation Lane is expected to remain closed for an extended period of time, awaiting the power and tree removal crews.

Photo via Google Maps

by ARLnow.com March 2, 2018 at 2:30 pm 0

The westbound lanes of Columbia Pike are temporarily closed due to damage to the outside of the Arlington Cinema Drafthouse (2903 Columbia Pike).

On traffic cameras, the front panel of the Drafthouse’s marquee sign, which announces upcoming acts, could be seen dangling precariously in the wind. Firefighters are currently working to secure it and reopen the roadway ahead of rush hour.

While traffic is being diverted, there is another road hazard nearby. According to scanner reports, a large tree has fallen across 8th Street S. near the intersection with S. Walter Reed Drive.

More views of the dangling Drafthouse sign:

Update at 3:20 p.m. — All lanes of Columbia Pike have reopened. A photo of the tree down on 8th Street S. is below.

https://twitter.com/smugclimber/status/969668095349547009

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