Police say 36-year-old Stephanie Desai was caught stealing prescription drugs from a fellow firefighter’s personal belongings. She was arrested at Fire Station No. 2 in Bluemont yesterday around 4:30 a.m.
A tipster tells ARLnow.com that Desai was caught on camera, but police declined to confirm that, citing an ongoing investigation. We were also told that Desai was subject to previous internal investigations, but a fire department spokesman declined to confirm that, citing the ongoing investigation.
More from an Arlington County Police Department press release, below.
At approximately 4:25 a.m. on February 11, police responded to Arlington County Fire Station #2, located in the 4800 block of Wilson Boulevard, for the report of a narcotics violation. Upon arrival, it was determined that prescribed medication had been removed from the victim’s personal belongings within the fire station. During the course of the investigation, a suspect description was developed based on evidence located at the scene and witness interviews. Following an interview with police, Stephanie Desai, 36, of Alexandria, VA was arrested and charged with Possession of Schedule II Narcotic, Possession of Schedule IV Narcotic and Petit Larceny. She was released on an unsecured bond.
Representatives with the Arlington County Fire Department continue to cooperate with the ongoing police investigation. Firefighter Desai, a two-year veteran of the agency, has been placed on administrative leave without pay pending the outcome of the criminal investigation and an internal investigation conducted by the Fire Department. “Arlington County Fire Department strives to maintain the highest degree of professionalism and public trust. Firefighter Desai is entitled to due process, however, I want to assure the community that allegations of criminal or other inappropriate behavior by staff are taken seriously and comprehensively investigated both internally and by the police department,” said Fire Chief James Bonzano.
Instant Runoff Bill Passes Committee — A bill that authorizes the Arlington County Board to use instant runoff voting for Board elections has passed a state committee. The legislation from Del. Patrick Hope (D) is intended to “encourage consensus candidates and eliminate the likelihood that a fringe contender could sneak through with 25 or 30 percent of the vote in a crowded field.” [InsideNova]
Foxcroft Heights Fire — Arlington County and Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall firefighters battled heavy fire in a townhouse near the eastern end of Columbia Pike Saturday evening. No injuries were reported but the home sustained serious damage. [Twitter, Twitter]
Fire at Willston Centre — A fire broke out Saturday night at a store in the Willston Centre shopping center in Seven Corners. TV news reports said the fire started in the Steven’s Shop tuxedo shop. Arlington, Alexandria and Fairfax firefighters worked to extinguish the blaze. No one was injured. [Patch]
Community Foundation Gala Set — The Arlington Community Foundation will be holding its annual gala on Saturday, April 21 at the Ritz-Carlton Pentagon City. The theme for this year is “This Is Us.” The event will feature a performance by “Arlington’s own Amy Wilcox and her band from L.A.” [Arlington Community Foundation]
Pushback on Naming Gravelly for Nancy Reagan — The pushback to the pushback against naming Gravelly Point park for First Lady Nancy Reagan has arrived. Writes a conservative website: “Opposition to the name change is… mean-spirited, petty partisanship. Nancy Reagan deserves better.” [Daily Signal]
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
Update at 1:15 p.m. — Repairs were completed and normal service resumed before noon, Metro says.
Update at 9:45 a.m. — All Blue and Yellow line service between National Airport and the Pentagon has been suspended due to “unscheduled track repairs.” The Pentagon City and Crystal City stations are being evacuated, Blue and Yellow line service is being run in two separate segments, and a shuttle is being established.
Blue/Yellow Line: No trains btwn Nat'l Airport & Pentagon due to unscheduled track repairs at Pentagon City. Bus shuttle being established.
— Metrorail Info (@Metrorailinfo) January 22, 2018
A large fire department response is on scene at the Pentagon City Metro station due to a track fire.
The apparent insulator fire is on one of the track at the station, producing light smoke. As of 9:15 a.m., the station was not being evacuated, but trains were being offloaded.
The Arlington County Police Department is helping to direct traffic in the area.
Trains are currently halted but Metro is preparing to single-track through the station, according to scanner traffic.
— Identify as #LLCAmerican (@dbroncos78087) January 22, 2018
— Jackie Barrientes (@JBarrientes_DC) January 22, 2018
— Zachary Keefe (@darthzach7) January 22, 2018
Blue & Yellow line customers expect delays in both directions due to a track problem at Pentagon City. Some trains my offload and turn back for service. 9:09a #wmata
— Metrorail Info (@Metrorailinfo) January 22, 2018
9:07A YL/BL trains are holding & being offloaded on either side of Pentagon City; no trains are passing the station at this time. #wmata ^SR
— Rail Transit OPS Group (@RailTransitOPS) January 22, 2018
Garbage Truck Crash — Among a number of other potentially weather-related crashes this morning, a garbage truck ran into a utility pole on the 4600 block of 27th Street N., near Marymount University. Dominion crews responded to the scene for a report of downed power lines. No injuries were reported.
Four Mile Run Valley Meeting Cancelled — A meeting of the Four Mile Run Valley Working Group, scheduled for tonight, has been cancelled. The cancellation is due to county staff reviewing “key pieces of the 4MRV transportation analysis,” the county wrote. “Staff will provide an update on the process schedule and timeline at the next scheduled meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 6.” [Arlington County]
Lee Highway Planning Moving Forward — “Funded with two county grants, donations and sponsorships, the Lee Highway Alliance is now back on the front burner of Arlington’s planning agenda, said county board Chairman Katie Cristol, who promised forward movement in the next couple of months.” Meanwhile, businesses along Lee Highway are generally supportive of redevelopment, according to the alliance. [Falls Church News-Press]
ACFD Helps Battle Fairfax Fire — Arlington County firefighters assisted Fairfax County on an apartment fire near Tysons Corner early this morning. About 34 residents were displaced by the fire. [Twitter, Twitter]
Photo courtesy Dennis Dimick
Ice Training for ACFD Water Rescue Team — While you were enjoying your weekend, snug in your warm home amid 10 degree weather, the Arlington County Fire Department’s water rescue team was using a chainsaw to cut holes in the ice on the Potomac and then jumping in. [Washington Post]
Freezing Rain Still Expected Tonight — A Winter Weather Advisory remains in effect tonight, as forecasters expect freezing rain to fall this afternoon and potentially make for a very messy evening commute. [Capital Weather Gang, Twitter]
Civic Federation Seeking County Event Help — The Arlington County Civic Federation is asking county government to help make it more affordable for civic associations to hold events on county property. Currently, there are insurance requirements that eat into civic associations’ meager budgets. [InsideNova]
Metro Proposes Refunds for Delays — “Under the proposal, riders would receive an automatic credit on their SmarTrip card if their trip is delayed by 15 minutes or more. Staff will ask Metro’s board to approve the change this week… The refunds would only be given during the weekday rush period.” [NBC Washington]
Crystal City Startup Scores $3 Million — Stardog Union, a “Enterprise Knowledge Graph startup” based in Crystal City, has added $3 million to its Series A venture funding round. The funding will be used for “marketing, sales and speeding up product development.” [Technically DC]
Notable Local Runner Publishes Novel — “Arlington marathon champion Jay Jacob Wind has published his first novel, a techno-thriller entitled The Man Who Stole the Sun, available now on Amazon Kindle and hand-printed by mail-order. ‘It is the first marathon terror fiction novel, based on the Marine Corps Marathon though Washington, DC, since the very real Boston Marathon bombing nearly five years ago, in April, 2013,’ Wind said.” [PRNewswire]
Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman
Fresh off a rather delicate ring removal last week, the crew of ACFD’s Rescue 104 used their specialized tools to cut a ring from a woman’s finger yesterday morning.
Firefighters were called to the emergency room of Virginia Hospital Center on New Year’s Day for an elderly woman whose finger was swollen around her ring. Medical personnel were unable to slide it off, so Rescue 104 was called.
Firefighters used a grinding tool and shielding devices to remove the ring and save the woman’s finger without further injury, WTOP reported.
The Arlington County Fire Department tweeted a post-removal finger, which was approved for publication by the patient “for public awareness.”
Tools from Rescue 104 were used to remove a ring from a patients hand this morning. Never attempt to pull a ring off your finger forcefully, as it could cause a Ring Avulsion (Google for more info).
Patient approved photo release for public awareness. pic.twitter.com/nxNLNZj8od
— Arlington Fire (@ArlingtonVaFD) January 1, 2018
Frigid Weather Makes Firefighting More Difficult — The persistently cold weather may be responsible for a recent spike in structure fire calls. Meanwhile, the deep freeze is “taking [firefighters’] biggest weapon, water, and using it against them.” [WJLA]
Beyer Blasts Trump Tweet — Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) tweeted the following this morning in response to a tweet from President Trump: “Trump opens 2018 with calls for prosecution of his political enemies… Every Member of Congress swore an oath to defend the Constitution. Protecting rule of law must not be partisan.” [Twitter]
Grassley Tweets About Local TV — Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) is not a fan of the History Channel’s dearth of shows about history. He tweeted the following over the weekend after apparently watching public television channel WHUT: “Just watched history on An American Experience abt Thomas Edison the inventor Thx Comcast on Arlington Va Channel 19 DO U GET MESSAGE HISTORY CHANNEL???” [Twitter]
Pacers Owner Keeps Marathon Streak Alive — Yorktown High School alum, Pace the Nation host and Pacers Running owner Chris Farley has kept his two-decade streak of running a sub-three-hour marathon every year alive. He did so by completing a hastily-organized but official 26.2 mile course around Hains Point in 2:52:53 on Friday. [Washington Post]
ACFD Reminding Residents to Close the Door — The Arlington County Fire Department is reminding residents to sleep with their bedroom doors closed and to close doors behind them in the event of a fire, to help prevent flames from spreading. [Twitter]
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Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
You often hear about the heroics of Arlington’s bravest when there’s a house fire or a bad car wreck. But you don’t hear about the little things — the “public service” calls to help vulnerable residents or the medical calls where people are in pain from all manner of cringeworthy afflictions.
One such incident occurred last night.
A rescue company was called to Virginia Hospital Center around 10:45 p.m. to assist with the removal of a ring that was around a man’s genitals. The ring was causing “extreme swelling” and medical personnel were unable to get it off on their own, according to scanner traffic.
The jewelry was removed and the patient was in “good condition” following the removal, but a fire department spokesman brushed it off as all in a day’s work.
“It’s nothing exciting,” said Capt. Ben O’Bryant. “Our Rescues have tools for getting body parts out of machinery and other things so when the ER can’t get a ring off, they call Rescue 104 to help them out.”
Arlington County’s bomb squad investigated a suspicious package near Reagan National Airport early Thursday afternoon.
The suspicious package was located in the arrivals area, near Baggage Claim 9. Traffic in the area was temporarily halted while the bomb squad investigated.
The package has since been determined to not be hazardous and the area around it reopened.
Out of an abundance of caution, Police investigated and cleared a suspicious bag near Baggage Claim 9. Airport operations were unimpacted and all areas of the arrivals level have been reopened.
— Reagan Airport (@Reagan_Airport) December 28, 2017
ACFD Responds to Overturned Truck — Rescue crews responded to the intersection of George Mason Drive and 27th Street N., in the Yorktown neighborhood, just before 6:30 last night for a crash involving an overturned vehicle. At least two vehicles, including a minivan, and a pickup truck that overturned, were involved. [Twitter]
Apartment Fire in Ashton Heights — Firefighters quickly extinguished a small fire in the storage room of an apartment building in Ashton Heights yesterday afternoon. The fire happened on the 500 block of N. Piedmont Street and was “kept small by sprinklers.” [Twitter]
I-66 Tolls Not as Bad as You Might Think — According to VDOT, tolls on the first day of HOT lanes on I-66 were, on average, not too bad: “The average round-trip toll price was $14.50, with the average morning toll paid of $10.70 and average afternoon toll paid of $3.80. This average toll rate is lower than the estimated average toll rate of $17.00 round-trip discussed in 2015.” Also, Friday morning’s tolls were lower than those of previous days. [VDOT, Washington Post]
Kaspersky Closes Arlington Office — Russian cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Labs has closed its government sales office in Arlington as a result of the government banning use of Kaspersky antivirus software on federal computers. The company “came under tough US scrutiny after US officials became concerned about the company’s links to the Russian government.” [Buzzfeed]
Flickr pool photo by Michael Coffman
A fire on the eve of Thanksgiving has damaged well-known local restaurant Caribbean Grill.
The fire broke out around 11 p.m. inside the restaurant at 5183 Lee Highway, according to fire officials. It was “caused by hot coals that fell out of [a] grill on to combustibles nearby.”
A large fire response was dispatched, but the fire was quickly extinguished and only minor damage — including smoke damage — was reported. No one was injured. The restaurant filled with smoke and firefighters remained on scene to ventilate the structure afterward.
— Arlington Fire (@ArlingtonVaFD) November 23, 2017
A few more pics from tonight’s restaurant fire. No injuries. Fire Marshals are investigating. pic.twitter.com/EK2qXxyjBh
— Arlington Fire (@ArlingtonVaFD) November 23, 2017
Wednesday night was a busy night for the Arlington County Fire Department. Around 7 p.m. last night, firefighters battled a brush fire in the woods on the 3000 block of N. Quincy Street, in the Dover Crystal neighborhood.
A fire department spokesman estimated that the fire, which was extinguished without incident, scorched about 400 square feet of woodlands.
#Breaking: Engine 103 & FM 113 were on scene of a brush fire in the 3000 block of N Quincy St. The 🔥 was extinguished & there was no extension into any dwellings. #AlwaysHere4U pic.twitter.com/NdZKvZyfG9
— Arlington Fire (@ArlingtonVaFD) November 23, 2017
Lost Hikers Found Near Chain Bridge — Two men who had apparently been hiking along the Potomac River got lost and had to call emergency dispatchers after one of them fell and hurt himself. The call came in around 2:30 a.m. this morning. Arlington, Fairfax County, D.C. and U.S. Park Police units helped to search for the men — Fairfax used its police helicopter — and eventually they were found and transported to the hospital. [WUSA 9]
Video: ACFD Responds to FC Vehicle Fire — A minivan caught on fire in Falls Church over the weekend and a camera was rolling as Arlington County firefighters arrived to extinguish the blaze. [Twitter]
Holiday Decorations Going Up — Around Clarendon yesterday — and perhaps in other parts of the county as well — lights, window paintings and other festive decorations were being put up in anticipation of the holiday season. [Instagram]
Arlington Mill Gym Floor Installed — The new gym floor has been installed and is ready to use at the Arlington Mill Community Center. The gym’s previous floor had to be removed due to water damage stemming from a March snow storm. [Twitter]
County Announces Human Rights Award Winners — Among the recipients of Arlington County’s 2017 James B. Hunter Award winners are: Signature Theatre’s Eric Schaeffer; the Building Bridges community initiative; Saint George’s Episcopal Church and its refugee advocacy; Café Sazón and its support of immigrant rights; and Freddie’s Beach Bar in Crystal City, which is considered the only gay bar in Northern Virginia. [Arlington County]
Reporter Accused of Unwanted Advances in Local Bar — New York Times reporter Glenn Thrush has been suspended following accusations that during his time at Arlington-based Politico, he made unwanted sexual advances at young, female colleagues while drinking at a Rosslyn bar. [Vox]
H-B Woodlawn Secondary Program students were evacuated earlier today (Thursday) after a small fire in a science lab.
The Arlington County Fire Department responded to the school at 4100 Vacation Lane just after 12 p.m. An Arlington Public Schools spokesman said some paper caught on fire during an experiment in the lab.
The fire was quickly put out by the teacher before firefighters arrived, with students evacuated as a precaution. A fire department spokesman said firefighters monitored the air and checked for hazards, but no issues were found. The smoke cleared naturally, the spokesman said.
There were no injuries and there was only minor damage to the equipment being used. Students returned to classes soon after.
— Arlington Fire (@ArlingtonVaFD) October 26, 2017
From approximately 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., the northbound lanes of S. George Mason Drive will be closed between Columbia Pike and Arlington Blvd (Route 50) to accommodate the exercise.
“Realistic training is critical to enhancing the police department’s capabilities to serve and protect the community to the best of our ability,” organizers wrote. “Those traveling in the area can expect to see an increase in public safety presence but are reminded that this is a training exercise only.”
Two Arlington Men Finish in MCM Top 3 — Arlington residents Desta Morkama and Kieran O’Connor finished first and third, respectively, in the 42nd Marine Corps Marathon yesterday. Al Richmond, the last remaining “Groundpounder” who has run every MCM since it started, kept his streak alive with a 6:48.35 finish. The race, which begins and ends in Arlington, had its start delayed by 10 minutes due to a suspicious package investigation. [RunWashington, Washington Post, NBC Washington]
No Major Incidents at MCM — Other than the short starting delay, no major incidents were reported at this year’s Marine Corps Marathon. Within the county, Arlington law enforcement and the fire department maintained a heavy presence along the course, along with Virginia State Police and other agencies. Arlington school buses were parked at key intersections to prevent anyone from driving onto the course. [Twitter, Facebook, Twitter]
Pedestrian Killed on Memorial Bridge — The Arlington Memorial Bridge was closed for more than three hours Saturday morning after a 47-year-old man was struck and killed by a car on the bridge. The driver remained on scene. Police are seeking additional information about the crash from witnesses. [NBC Washington]
Board Approves Library Renovation Project — Arlington Central Library will be getting $1.7 million in renovations, thanks in large part to a private donation. The Arlington County Board approved the project at its Saturday meeting. Per a press release, the plans include “new meeting rooms, an updated ‘tech-central’ area and a multi-purpose maker lab, a community-based space where people can share knowledge and tools to create together.” [Arlington County]
Roosevelt Memorial Anniversary Event — The National Park Service is holding a family-friendly event on Sunday, Oct. 29 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the dedication of the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial on Roosevelt Island. The event will feature food including fried chicken and Indian pudding; an address from the former president’s great-grandson, Tweed Roosevelt; a Teddy Roosevelt re-enactor; and a “Teddy Bear story time.” Shuttles will be available from the Pentagon parking lot. [InsideNova]
Library to Launch New Digital Collection — “Arlington Public Library will launch a new digital collection of Arlington women and their achievements in March 2018. The Center for Local History’s (CLH) Community Archives contains many collections pertaining to women’s history and consequently the history of Arlington County.” [Arlington County]