(Updated at 6:35 p.m.) Firefighters are on the scene of a fire at a church along Columbia Pike.
The smoky fire broke out at the Arlington Presbyterian Church at 3506 Columbia Pike around 5:30 p.m.
Initial reports suggest the fire started in a closet at Funshine Preschool, the child care center that’s housed in the church, before spreading to a hallway.
The flames were quickly brought under control after firefighters arrived on scene, but not before the building filled with smoke.
Additional fire department resources from Fairfax County and Fort Myer were requested to assist with the firefighting and subsequent ventilation efforts.
The church is set to be torn down and replaced with an affordable housing development with a new worship space. Its congregation has temporarily moved to the Arlington United Methodist Church (716 S. Glebe Road) in the Alcova Heights neighborhood.
In June we reported that the preschool’s lease had been extended through December, ahead of the planned demolition.
Billowing black smoke coming from a home’s chimney and roof prompted an Arlington County Fire Department response this morning.
The chimney fire was first reported shortly after 9:30 a.m., at a home at the intersection of N. Fillmore Street and 2nd Street N.
At least two people were inside the house at the time, a fire department spokeswoman confirmed. Both escaped from the smoky structure unharmed.
Firefighters used chainsaws to get access to the chimney and extinguish the fire before it could spread. Some water damage from the firefighting effort was reported in the home.
Two blocks of N. Fillmore Street were closed as a result of fire apparatus on the scene.
Fire Station Open Houses — Arlington County’s ten fire stations will be hosting open houses on Saturday as part of Fire Prevention Week. The open houses will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will allow attendees of all ages to tour the stations, climb in the trucks, talk to firefighters and learn about fire safety. [Arlington County]
Sun Gazette Endorses Garvey — Incumbent Democratic Arlington County Board member Libby Garvey has won the endorsement of the Sun Gazette over independent challenger Audrey Clement. Garvey “is the only candidate on the ballot who has both a track record on the issues and in building coalitions to serve the public,” the newspaper says. [InsideNova]
Arlington Ranked No. 25 Bicycling City — Arlington County is the 25th-ranked “city” for bicycling in the country, according to Bicycling Magazine. Arlington offers robust bicycling infrastructure and does a good job of encouraging residents to get out of their cars and try biking to work instead, but it “consistent enforcement” of traffic laws to protect cyclists “remains an issue.” [Bicycling]
Balcony Fire in Arlington View — Arlington County firefighters battled a small fire on an apartment balcony in the Arlington View neighborhood yesterday afternoon, following reports of an “explosion” sound. The fire was quickly extinguished and no injuries were reported. [Twitter]
Carpool’s New Owner Trying to Sell — The fate of Carpool is once again uncertain. The Ballston-area bar was supposed to close later this fall to make way for a new high-rise residential development. Despite County Board approval of the project, and the just-completed sale of the bar, developer Penzance is now reportedly trying to sell the site. [Washington Business Journal]
Student Population Growth Lower Than Estimate — The student population at Arlington Public Schools grew 3.6 percent from last school year to the beginning of this school year. That’s an increase of 914 students, the equivalent of a new middle school, but it is 262 students below APS projections. [InsideNova]
Pedestrian-Only Streets on County Board Agenda — The Arlington County Board on Saturday is slated to consider allowing pedestrian-only streets in Arlington. Currently such streets are not part of the county’s Master Transportation Plan. Pedestrian-only streets are being discussed for parts of Rosslyn and Courthouse. [Arlington County]
White Squirrel Hit By Car? — A commenter says an albino squirrel that was often seen in neighborhoods near Columbia Pike has been hit by a car and killed. [ARLnow]
The crash, involving an overturned vehicle, was reported shortly after 11 a.m. in the northbound lanes of the Parkway, near Spout Run. The northbound lanes were closed for about an hour and a half as medics treated the injured and as crews worked to clean up a large amount of debris from the roadway.
Around the same time as the first crash, a second, apparently unrelated crash involving an overturned vehicle was reported on the GW Parkway near Key Bridge.
Two people were transported via ambulance to the hospital, one with critical injuries. Initially the U.S. Park Police Eagle 1 helicopter was requested to medevac that person, but was later called off.
As of 12:40 p.m., one northbound lane had reopened, according to WTOP.
Vehicle overturned: GW Pkwy, S. of Key Bridge: E110, E101 on scene reporting no one trapped, requesting 2 medic units.
— LincolnACFD (@LincolnACFD) October 1, 2016
UPDATE: M104, and M106 will be transporting two patients momentarily. One critical, one moderate. GW Pkwy is still most likely shut down.
— LincolnACFD (@LincolnACFD) October 1, 2016
— WTOP Traffic (@WTOPtraffic) October 1, 2016
Next SafeTrack Surge Begins Tomorrow — Metro’s ninth SafeTrack maintenance “surge” will begin tomorrow and will result in single-tracking between the Vienna and West Falls Church station on the Orange Line through Oct. 26. Riders should expect longer wait times on the Orange Line; in Arlington, the East Falls Church station is expected to experience the worst delays. [DCist, NBC Washington]
Fire Dept. to Donate to AWLA — Arlington County fire stations collected more than 650 pounds of pet supplies and food during ‘Operation FirePaws.’ The items will be donated to the Animal Welfare League of Arlington. [Arlington County]
Additions for Phoenix House — Following a successful capital fundraising campaign, substance abuse rehabilitation facility Phoenix House, in Ballston, will be adding a new fitness and health center and expanding and renovating its adolescent boys program.
A History of the Balls — ‘Our Man in Arlington’ columnist recounts the history of the Ball family, local landowners since the Revolutionary War and the namesakes for Arlington’s Ballston neighborhood. [Falls Church News-Press]
Photo courtesy Noah Kaufman
The blaze was reported just after 10:15 a.m. on the B1 level of the Waterview building garage, at 1919 N. Lynn Street. The building is home to companies like CEB and Deloitte.
As of 10:35 a.m., firefighters on the scene reported that they had the fire under control. Sprinklers in the garage helped to keep it contained, according to scanner traffic.
Two people are being evaluated for possible injuries.
Firefighters are currently checking to make sure the fire didn’t spread to other levels. They’re also assessing smoke conditions in the garage.
Between the fire and lane closures due to construction, drivers should expect significant traffic delays on Lynn Street in Rosslyn.
(Updated at 10:20 p.m.) A fire broke out in the basement of a house in Arlington’s Williamsburg neighborhood tonight.
Firefighters were dispatched to the home, on the 6200 block of 30th Street N., shortly before 9 p.m. Fire was reported in the basement, with extension to the first floor of the house.
The fire was brought under control within about 15 minutes. There were no reports of injuries but extensive damage, including a collapsed floor, was reported.
— Arlington Fire (@ACFDPIO) August 31, 2016
— LincolnACFD (@LincolnACFD) August 31, 2016
*WORKING FIRE* 6200 BLK N. 30th St. E106 with heavy fire from a basement w/ extension to 1st floor.
— ACFD Firefighters (@IAFF2800) August 31, 2016
*UPDATE* 6200 BLK N. 30th St. Fire knocked. Searches negative. Extensive overhaul w/ floor collapses on #1 floor. #ACFD
— ACFD Firefighters (@IAFF2800) August 31, 2016
#Update: Fire has been knocked down and searches on all floors were negative. RIT Level 1 on scene.
— Arlington Fire (@ACFDPIO) August 31, 2016
Photos courtesy Andrew Pang, @LincolnACFD
Crash Closes 395 Ramp — A multi-vehicle crash closed the ramp from northbound I-395 to northbound Washington Blvd during this morning’s rush hour. The ramp reopened just after 9 a.m. [Arlington County, Twitter]
Metro Delays This Morning — There were delays on the Yellow, Orange and Silver lines this morning due to “unscheduled track repairs.” [Washington Post]
Jefferson Davis Highway Name Change? — The Virginia attorney general’s office has determined that Alexandria can legally change the name of Jefferson Davis Highway in the city, while Arlington cannot remove the Confederate leader’s name from Route 1. One local lawmaker says he wants the name to change, for various reasons, but adds that he doesn’t have a problem with routes named after Robert E. Lee. [InsideNova, InsideNova]
Flickr pool photo by Alan Kotok
A busy street in Ballston has been closed due to a strong odor of natural gas coming from a manhole.
N. Randolph Street is closed between N. Glebe Road and Wilson Blvd, near the Ballston Common Mall demolition site. Several businesses on the Glebe Road side of Randolph have been evacuated.
Washington Gas crews are en route to try to stop the leak.
Update at 4:50 p.m. — One lane of northbound Glebe Road has been reopened, but major backups on Glebe are being reported.
Update at 4:30 p.m. — Firefighters say they’ve located the likely source of the smoke, in a mechanical room. No fire was found. Units are starting to clear from the scene.
Arlington County firefighters have shut down Glebe Road at Wilson Blvd as they investigate why the second floor of the Ballston Common Mall Macy’s store has filled with smoke.
Numerous fire department units are responding to the scene, but so far the source of the smoke has not been found. No flames have been seen and firefighters are checking the building’s HVAC system.
Drivers should expect traffic impacts in the area.
— LincolnACFD (@LincolnACFD) August 17, 2016
Investigators believe the small fire, inside a bathroom at the Inova Urgent Care clinic (3263 Columbia Pike) was an act of arson. And it may be part of a string of intentionally-set small fires.
Arlington County firefighters responded to several suspicious small fires Sunday and Monday, including two set 20 minutes apart.
“There have been an uptick in small fires in the county,” said Lt. Jason Hart. “We have not tied them together yet, it’s still under investigation.”
After Monday’s bathroom fire, Arlington police put out a lookout call for a woman with a facial hair, who was suspected of setting the fire. Based on the description relayed over the radio, the woman was detained and questioned, but was ultimately released due to lack of evidence, Hart said.
The incident happened around 2 p.m. on the 2000 block of N. Inglewood Street, in the Tara-Leeway Heights community. Initial reports suggest the worker fell at least 6 feet into some sort of a trench.
State occupational health and safety officials were called to the scene following the accident.
The victim was transported to the trauma center at George Washington University Hospital, an Arlington County Fire Department spokesman said.
File photo via Google Maps
Several of the original firefighters of Arlington’s Fire Station 8 were glad to see that the Arlington County Board abandoned a plan to relocate the station, instead voting in favor of rebuilding it on its current site.
Fire Station 8 was the only station in segregated Arlington with black firefighters during the 1950s and 60s. Those firefighters had to work hard just to keep the station running — due to a lack of county funding, they would hold cookouts to raise funds for equipment.
“The community got together, and they sold dinners, fish dinners, chili dinners, chicken dinners, and… they made enough money to buy all the materials and things for a barracks,” recalled Marguarite Gooden, a local resident.
After working on a volunteer basis for years, Captain Hartman Reed and Firefighter Carl Cooper were two of the first three firefighters at Station 8 to receive pay for their work, starting in the early 1950s. (White Arlington firefighters started receiving salaries about a decade earlier.)
Reed and Cooper still live in Arlington, right behind the fire station. They spoke to ARLnow.com about their thoughts on the station’s relocation.
“I just thought, well, it was very wrong about trying to move it out,” Cooper said. “If anything, they should enlarge it and let it remain here.”
In 2014, the fire chief recommended — based on a 2012 consultant’s report — that Fire Station 8 be moved north of its current location to reduce response times for the northern communities. A county-owned parcel of land near Marymount University seemed like a prime candidate.
Captain Reed found that recommendation a little odd, especially given that there was more population density — and thus, more calls — along Lee Highway.
“I recall when I was in Station 8, how few calls we ran up into that [northern] area, and the difference in the calls we ran,” Reed said. “I don’t think the fire department could prove, even though it was a longer run, that they were needed more in that northern area, then they were in the Lee Highway corridor.”
Reed theorized that one of the underlying reasons for the move may have been a desire to place low income housing on the current fire station site. Cooper said he thought “maybe they wanted to get it away from this community” due to some sort of prejudice.
The recommendation to move the station was met with much resistance from both the historically black community surrounding the station’s current site and the community surrounding the stations’s proposed new location.
Kitty Clark Stevenson, the daughter of Alfred Clark — another one of the first paid firefighters at Station 8 — explained that the community felt they were included in the process only after a top-level decision had already seemingly been made.
“We were not respected as a community by the leadership in this county government, which for us was a violation of the Arlington Way,” she said.
Gooden, who is Captain Reed’s daughter, also found that upsetting.
“The thing that outraged me was… we weren’t engaged in the conversation at all,” she said.
After numerous county meetings and the creation of a task force, the county finally decided against relocating the station. Instead, the existing station will be knocked down and a new, larger Fire Station 8 will be built on its current site, which many in the community describe as historic.
“I was excited to hear that it would… remain where it is,” Cooper said. “Very much elated,” Reed agreed.
Gooden was also pleased that the building was being redone.
“I’m excited about them getting the best, the best technology, the best facility,” she said. “And they will better be able to serve the dynamic, very densely populated Arlington.”
Throughout the month of August, the Arlington County Fire Department will be holding a donation drive for pet supplies.
Items on the shelter’s need list include canned pet food, collars, toys, and office supplies. AWLA has requested no Milk Bones, boxed hard treats or handmade items.
The items can be dropped off at the following fire stations:
- Fire Station 2 at 4805 Wilson Blvd
- Fire Station 3 at 4100 Old Dominion Drive
- Fire Station 5 at 1750 S Hayes Street
- Fire Station 6 at 6950 Little Falls Road
- Fire Station 7 at 3116 S. Abingdon Street
- Fire Station 9 at 1900 S. Walter Reed Drive
Donation bins will be in the lobby of each fire station and items can be dropped off from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Donations collected before August 27 will be presented to the AWLA at its Wags n Whiskers event in Shirlington however donations will be collected until August 31.
Photo Courtesy of ACFD