Arlington, VA

Morning Notes

Fire Outside Shirlington Apartment BuildingUpdated at 9:30 a.m. — “ACFD working to extinguish a dumpster fire near an apartment building at 3000 S. Randolph Street in Shirlington. ‘Smoke conditions’ reported in portions of the building.” [Twitter, Twitter]

The Cost of Renaming Washington-Lee — “It will cost taxpayers about a quarter of a million dollars to change ‘Lee’ to ‘Liberty’ on the name of Arlington’s oldest public high school. School officials have released an estimate of $224,360 for the name change, with about two-thirds of the total for ‘soft costs’ (uniforms, athletic equipment and the like) and the remainder ‘hard costs’ such as signage.” [InsideNova]

Local Teen Gets Celebrity Shoutout — “When [H-B Woodlawn student] Cole Goco, 17, sits down to draw his comic Billy the Pop, every line and contour is decisive. He uses pen, after all. And, after five years, hundreds and hundreds of strips published regularly to a blog, two self-published comic books, a dedicated following, and — most recently — the recognition of Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, it’s safe to say Goco knows what’s doing.” [DCist]

Rosslyn Startup Gets Another Investment — “Frontier Capital, a Charlotte-based growth equity firm focused exclusively on B2B software, today announced a strategic growth investment in Phone2Action, a digital advocacy platform that connects citizens to lawmakers.” [BusinessWire]

Bomb Squad Investigates Suspicious Car at DCA — “A portion of the daily parking lot at Reagan National Airport was closed [Wednesday] morning after suspicious contents were spotted inside a parked car. Authorities checked out the car ‘out of an abundance of caution’ and nothing hazardous was found, per an airport spokeswoman.” [Twitter]

Local Pedestrian, Bicycle Crash Reduction Effort Honored — “The Arlington County Pedestrian Bicycle Crash Reduction Campaign aims to reduce bicycle and pedestrian-involved traffic crashes through the coordination of education, engineering and enforcement… Arlington County saw a seven percent decrease in pedestrian crashes and a 29 percent reduction in bicycle-related crashes in 2018.” [Virginia DMV]

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Update at 2 p.m. — Police have released additional details about the stabbing and the suspect. Per a press release:

The Arlington County Police Department has arrested and charged a suspect following a malicious wounding investigation at Gateway Park. Wondwossen Kassu, 40, of No Fixed Address was charged with three counts of Malicious Wounding and three counts of Unlawful Wounding in the Commission of a Felony. He is being held without bond in the Arlington County Detention Facility.

At approximately 9:27 p.m. on May 21, police responded to the report of multiple stabbings in Gateway Park located at 1300 Lee Highway. Upon arrival, officers located the suspect and took him into custody without incident. During the course of the investigation, officers located three male victims suffering from lacerations. The victims were transported to area hospitals and all are reported in stable condition.

Based on the preliminary investigation, it appears two of the victims were sitting at a table inside Gateway Park when the suspect approached them and initiated a conversation before producing a knife and stabbing the victims. The third victim was walking in the area when he came upon the initial assault. The suspect then turned his attention towards the third victim and stabbed him as well. Two victims were able to leave the scene to seek assistance. They were located by responding officers in the 1900 block of Fort Myer Drive and the 1800 block of N. Nash Street.

This remains an active criminal investigation. Anyone with information related to this investigation is asked to contact Detective S. King of the Arlington County Police Department’s Homicide/Robbery Unit at 703-228-4243 or [email protected] Information may also be provided anonymously through the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).

Earlier: Arlington County Police are investigating a reported stabbing spree in Rosslyn.

Initial reports suggest three people were stabbed in or near Rosslyn’s Gateway Park. Two people were seriously injured but expected to survive, while the other victim suffered minor injuries.

A police presence has been reported at Gateway Park, the Continental lounge, and Turnberry Tower. One of the victims ran to the bar and another to the condo building after being stabbed, leaving a trail of blood along the sidewalk, we’re told.

Eastbound Lee Highway and at least one lane of both N. Lynn Street and N. Nash Street were closed near the crime scene as a result of the investigation.

One suspect was in custody as of about 10:20 p.m., police said. An ACPD spokeswoman says the suspect in custody appears to have known at least one of the victims. There’s no word yet on a motive.

Police were still searching for other suspects with the assistance of the Fairfax County Police helicopter after the first suspect was detained, according to scanner traffic.

“One suspect is in custody and the investigation is ongoing to determine if any other individuals are involved,” said police spokeswoman Ashley Savage.

Separately, during the stabbing investigation, firefighters battled a reported townhouse fire on the 1400 block of N. Nash Street in Rosslyn, near the Iwo Jima memorial. The fire, on the roof of the townhomes, was quickly extinguished and did not extend to the interior of the building.

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(Updated at 1:30 p.m.) Firefighters have extinguished a fire at a townhouse on the 1500 block of N. Colonial Terrace in Rosslyn.

Fire department spokesman Capt. Ben O’Bryant said the fire was under control around 1:10 p.m. and that no one was injured. He told ARLnow that the department is now investigating what sparked the flames.

Crews on scene began retracting the ladders and taking apart the hoses shortly afterwards.

At 12:55 p.m., first responders reported that the fire appeared to be contained to the building’s outdoor balcony, and that they were working on extinguishing it.

Crews entered the building at around 12:45 p.m. after firefighters reported seeing smoke upon arriving at the scene. A 911 caller, who O’Bryant said was a neighbor, described “flames coming out of a French window,” per scanner traffic.

Photo (1) via Arlington County Fire Department, (2) via Google Maps

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A trash truck dumped a flaming load of garbage in the parking lot of Washington Golf and Country Club this afternoon, leading to lane closures on N. Glebe Road during the evening rush hour.

The incident was first reported shortly before 5 p.m. The contents of a Waste Management truck caught fire, prompting the driver to dump the load in the ritzy private club’s front parking lot.

Firefighters were eventually able to extinguish the slow-burning fire, from which a small plume of smoke was visible on a nearby traffic camera. Now the private trash collection company will have to figure out how to clean up the mountain of soggy, sometimes charred debris from the parking lot, along with the detritus that was washed down nearby N. Glebe Road.

Both northbound lanes of Glebe were temporarily blocked at Old Dominion Drive during the incident. One lane has since reopened.

Similar trash truck fires happened last year just off S. Glebe Road and in the Penrose neighborhood.

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(Updated at 2:15 p.m.) A man suffered serious burn injuries after a flash fire erupted in the kitchen of a popular Ballston restaurant during Tuesday’s lunchtime rush.

Three others were being treated for potential injuries after the flare-up at Dirt restaurant, which recently opened at 4121 Wilson Blvd.

The incident happened around 12:15 p.m. While the restaurant was bustling with a lunchtime crowd, the kitchen suddenly and unexpectedly was engulfed by a large fireball. Staff and customers ran out of the restaurant, which was quickly evacuated.

One worker who had been in the kitchen during the flare-up ran out, screaming in pain from burns. Passersby and an Arlington County Fire Department ambulance crew, apparently on their lunch break, quickly jumped into action and began comforting and treating the man as he writhed on the ground.

He was transported via ambulance to the burn center at Medstar hospital in D.C. with serious but non-life-threatening injuries, according to ACFD.

Firefighters extinguished the remaining flames in the kitchen and treated the injured, two of whom were being transported to Virginia Hospital Center with minor burns, according to scanner traffic. Occupational safety investigators were dispatched to the scene to investigate.

Later Tuesday afternoon ACFD spokesman Capt. Ben O’Bryant told ARLnow that the fire was caused by an aerosol can of cooking oil that ignited after being placed next to a stove.

Among those inside the restaurant at the time of the incident was an ARLnow editor, who was paying for an order at the front counter — which is adjacent to the kitchen — when the fireball erupted. While the editor felt the intense heat of the fire and had ash in his eye, he was otherwise uninjured.

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With any luck, Ballstonians can get their pancake fix at the IHOP (935 N. Stafford Street) by the time the weekend rolls around.

The restaurant was closed after a fire on April 9 — the second fire since October. Renovations are now underway, making for the second such extended closure for construction since the first fire.

Among the visible changes: a new expanse of faux wood under the restaurant’s large blue roof. Staff at the IHOP said the remodeling is complete and the restaurant is expected to re-open in the next three to four days, pending final approval of permits.

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(Updated 2:15 p.m.) A crash involving a motorcycle and a subsequent fire prompted the temporary closure of the westbound lanes of Arlington Blvd near Courthouse around noon today.

Firefighters were called to the scene around 11:55 a.m. for a crash between a motorcycle and an SUV. First responders reported that the motorcycle was on fire as they arrived on scene.

ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage said all lanes re-opened at 1 p.m. and that the motorcycle rider was transported to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

“The driver of the vehicle did not sustain any injuries, remained on scene and was cited with unsafe lane changes,” added Savage.

Arlington County Fire Department spokesman Capt. Ben O’Bryant told ARLnow that firefighters had doused the flames “quickly.”

At 12:45 p.m. two lanes were still shut down under the 10th Street bridge and firefighters were again hosing down the motorcycle, which had by that point been placed on the bed of a tow truck.

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(Updated at 9 a.m.) Firefighters are battling a house fire in the Nauck neighborhood, near Shirlington and the W&OD Trail.

The blaze, in a duplex on the 3600 S. Four Mile Run Drive, was first reported just before 8:30 a.m. Flames and heavy smoke could be seen coming from the home.

As of 8:40 a.m., firefighters were making progress but still working to contain the flames. As of 8:55 a.m., most of the fire was reported out, but crews were still looking for hot spots.

Additional fire department units have dispatched to the scene. Initial reports suggest the home’s occupants were able to get out safely and no one was hurt.

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(Updated at 9:15 a.m.) A fire at a construction site across from the Clarendon Whole Foods prompted a large fire department response this morning.

Firefighters responded around 8:45 a.m. for multiple reports of a fire with flames and smoke visible from the street. They arrived to find construction workers trying to extinguish a fire outside of an under-construction building on the 2700 block of Wilson Blvd.

The building is part of the Market Common Clarendon development, which is currently being renovated.

The flames were quickly extinguished and no one was reported hurt.

Photo courtesy @HenryTDunbar

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Morning Notes

Questions About Arlington Woman’s Death — “A search warrant filed in the case supports the theory it was an assisted suicide, according to a friend of [philanthropist Penny Holloway] who was there at the time. He said a doctor also was present. That doctor died three days after Holloway. Her friends said police questioned him before his death.” [NBC Washington]

Apartment Fire On S. Glebe Road — A first floor apartment caught fire Friday night at the newly-renovated Dominion Apartments on S. Glebe Road. [Twitter]

Is Arlington an Actual Amazon HQ? — “Amazon will move thousands of jobs from Seattle to nearby Bellevue, Washington over the next four years… With this move, some are now calling Bellevue the ‘Real HQ2.'” [GeekWire, Inc. Magazine]

Sawdust Art in Arlington — “Alfo-Conce — an ever-expanding group of artisans from Guatemala with a knack for creating beautiful religious iconography out of sawdust — began prep work for their Holy Week art during a meetup in Arlington March 30.” [Arlington Catholic Herald]

Pedestrian Fatality in Seven Corners — “A woman died overnight as a result of injuries from a crash that occurred just after three yesterday afternoon in the 2900 block of Peyton Randolph Drive.” [Fairfax County Police]

Flickr pool photo by Michael Coffman

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For the second time since October, the Ballston IHOP has closed after an early morning fire.

The fire was reported around 3 a.m., in the kitchen at the 935 N. Stafford Street restaurant, filling it with smoke, according to the Arlington County Fire Department. No injuries were reported.

This morning signs on the restaurant’s doors said it was closed due to a “maintenance issue.” IHOP was closed for more than a week after the October fire, but there’s no word as to how long this closure may last.

A fire department spokesman said the causes of the two fires are not initially believed to be related.

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