Join Club

Roads are closed around the Key Bridge Marriott in Rosslyn after a fire in the vacant hotel.

Firefighters responded to the site at 1401 Langston Blvd around 8:30 p.m. and found fire on the fourth floor, according to ACFD.

The blaze was reported to be extinguished just after 9 p.m., though firefighters were still working to ventilate residual smoke and search the building.

Nearly a year ago, the discovery of a large number of squatters in the building prompted a large police response to the former hotel. Perimeter security was subsequently stepped up.

In November a security guard was charged after allegedly shooting a teen who was part of a group that was trespassing at the site.

A planned redevelopment of the hotel has been stalled due to financial problems at the California-based developer.

Update at 10:50 p.m.: The fire department has largely cleared the scene and roads have reopened.

0 Comments
Crystal Plaza Apartments (via Google Maps)

Sixty-eight residents of an apartment building in Crystal City were told this week that they have 14 days to leave due to damage from a fire in the boiler room last month.

One resident tells ARLnow the news leaves affected tenants scrambling for last-minute housing options. He says those told to vacate include an octogenarian who has lived in her apartment for three decades and “is unsure of where to go.” 

“To say that this has caused turmoil and distress would be an understatement,” the resident said. “Finding alternative housing, coordinating a move, and dealing with the various challenges that come with such a sudden eviction is a monumental task in itself.”

On Aug. 21, a fire broke out in the boiler room of the southern wing of the Crystal Plaza Apartments at 2111 Richmond Hwy. Industrial hygienists, air quality specialists and engineers, among other specialists, assessed the impacts to every apartment, according to a letter shared with ARLnow.

They determined some apartments need new flooring, cabinetry, walls and systems to remove all residual soot and other pollutants — work that would require tenants to vacate, the letter said. The notice gave them 14 days, the minimum required by Virginia law, to leave.

The notices were dated Sept. 14, after owner Dweck Properties learned from an industrial hygienist that these apartments would need a more comprehensive assessment and, possibly, extensive remediation work, a Dweck spokesperson tells ARLnow.

These additional assessments are contingent on apartments being vacant, the spokesperson added. They would determine the scope and cost of work as well as how long it could take. 

“This notice was needed to ensure we could access units for repair if required,” the spokesperson said. “We are now working with each resident on their transition — identifying alternative apartments, understanding each of their timing needs, and assisting them in any way we can.” 

Before this notice, the resident says a community-wide notice went out a few days after the inspections, describing which apartments suffered the most damage and required immediate work.

“Our apartment was not included in this list,” the resident said. “It is essential to emphasize that since the fire, we had received no communication or updates regarding our situation.”

The Dweck spokesperson did not say whether residents also received the community-wide notice. 

Notice to vacate from Dweck Properties (courtesy photo)

In its letter, Dweck was apologetic and offered to cover $2,000 in moving expenses per unit. 

“The fire incident has had a wide-ranging impact, and we are so very sorry for the disruption it has caused,” the letter said. 

Since the letters went out, Dweck tells ARLnow it has taken more steps to ease these transitions. In meetings convened Monday and Tuesday, Dweck told residents it would also cover insurance deductibles up to $500 and reimburse residents for rent paid from the time of the incident to the time they move out.

“While some of this work requires units to be vacant, our inspection team is revisiting all of these 68 apartments this week to see if there is any possibility of performing remediation while the apartments are occupied — in apartments that potentially require less work,” the company spokesperson said. 

Read More

0 Comments

Fire response at Lost Dog Cafe in Westover

Arlington firefighters are investigating a reported fire in the ceiling at Lost Dog Cafe in Westover.

The fire started in the kitchen area and is said to be out, but firefighters are removing ceiling tiles to make sure there are no remaining hotspots, according to scanner traffic.

It’s unclear what sparked the fire, but accumulated grease in the kitchen ductwork is a common cause of fires at restaurants.

The local staple at 5876 Washington Blvd is best known for its wide selection of beer and sandwiches. There are other Lost Dog Cafe locations on Columbia Pike and in McLean, Dunn Loring and Alexandria.

At least one lane of Washington Blvd is currently blocked by the fire activity.

0 Comments

(Updated at 1:30 p.m.) A townhouse in the East Falls Church neighborhood was badly damaged by a fire last night.

The fire broke out in a middle-of-the-row townhouse on the 6500 block of Washington Blvd around 11:30 p.m. on July 4. A large fire department response to the blaze blocked traffic near the intersection of Washington Blvd and N. Sycamore Street, one block from the Metro station.

Arriving firefighters reported encountering heavy fire coming from the home’s garage and extending up to the upper floors.

While the bulk of the flames were extinguished relatively quickly, firefighters were kept busy for more than an hour, searching for hotspots and ventilating the structure, according to scanner traffic. Additionally, several cats were rescued from inside the home.

This morning, fire investigators could be seen searching through the charred remains of the garage.

On Wednesday afternoon, the Arlington County Fire Department announced that while four animals were rescued and no humans were injured, one pet was found dead.

Early this morning, firefighters also responded to a fire at the Frederick at Courthouse apartment building, at 2230 Fairfax Drive, shortly after 1 a.m.

Initial reports suggest that fireworks disposed of in the trash chute caused a fire that filled a portion of the building with smoke and set off sprinklers, dousing the flames but also causing water damage in numerous apartments.

2 Comment

Boats on fire at Columbia Island Marina (photo courtesy D.C. Fire and EMS)

It was a dreadful sight for boaters looking forward to a Memorial Day on the water.

Early Sunday morning, a significant blaze broke out at Columbia Island Marina, between the GW Parkway and the Pentagon, prompting a large fire department response from Arlington and D.C., including D.C. fireboats.

At least three boats and some of the marina’s dock were damaged, according to D.C. Fire and EMS. The flames could be seen from a distance.

Despite the intensity of the fire at times, fed by the boats’ fuel tanks, no injuries were reported.

0 Comments

Arlington police car at night (file photo courtesy Kevin Wolf)

Arlington County police are investigating two separate incidents of gunfire overnight.

The first happened in the Green Valley neighborhood, where shots were fired shortly after 10:30 p.m. and police found a possible blood trail, according to scanner traffic.

The second happened just before 2 a.m. in the Arlington Mill neighborhood. Two buildings were struck by bullets and a witness reported seeing three “heavily armed” men flee the scene.

In both incidents, a police helicopter was called in from a nearby law enforcement agency but was unable to locate the suspects.

More from today’s Arlington County Police Department crime report:

SHOTS FIRED, 2023-01290277, 2400 block of S. Lowell Street. At approximately 10:41 p.m. on January 29, police were on a separate call for service in the area when they heard possible shots fired. During the course of the investigation, officers recovered evidence confirming shots had been fired. A search of the area by officers and a police helicopter yielded negative results. No injuries or property damage have been reported at this time. Witnesses reported a dark-colored sedan leaving the area at a high rate of speed. There is no suspect(s) description. The investigation is ongoing.

SHOTS FIRED, 2023-01300020, 800 block of S. Harrison Street. At approximately 1:52 a.m. on January 30, police were dispatched to the report of shots heard. During the course of the investigation, officers recovered evidence confirming shots had been fired in the area and located property damage to two residences. A search of the area was conducted, with the assistance of a police helicopter, which yielded negative results. A witness reported seeing approximately three unknown male suspects flee the scene in a sedan. No injuries were reported. There is no suspect(s) description. The investigation is ongoing.

Also today, the Arlington County Fire Department announced that fire marshals have arrested a 33-year-old Arlington man, after a balcony fire at an apartment building along Arlington’s western end of Columbia Pike.

More from an ACFD press release:

At 6:57 a.m. on Jan. 27, the Arlington County Fire Department was dispatched to the 5500 block of Columbia Pike for a reported structure fire. Crews found a small fire on the balcony that was quickly extinguished. During the course of the investigation, the Fire Marshals recovered evidence indicating the fire had been intentionally set. The suspect, a resident of the building, was taken into custody at the scene without incident.

Hat tip to Alan Henney

0 Comments

The Pentagon City Metro station (file photo)

Update at 2:55 p.m. — Metro is single-tracking past the station and expected to resume normal service soon, with fire department units clearing from the scene.

Blue Line service has been suspended at Pentagon City due to a small fire producing smoky conditions at the station.

Arlington County firefighters are on scene. The fire — reportedly caused by trash catching on fire behind a wall — is reported to be out but there’s still residual smoke in the tunnels.

The fire department activity is also said to be affecting traffic in the area.

2 Comments

Ireland’s Four Courts boarded up on 9/15/22 (staff photo)

The following article was supported by the ARLnow Press Club. Join today to help us do more in-depth local reporting.

Storefront safety is now top-of-mind for Ireland’s Four Courts after a rideshare driver plowed into the pub and sparked a fire, seriously injuring several people.

While those injured were inside the restaurant, safety advocates say this crash demonstrates why many have concerns about outdoor dining and nightlife, as well as traffic configurations that rely on everyone driving perfectly. For Four Courts, the crash is a chance to rebuild with a greater focus on safety.

“Since the accident, storefront and patio safety is most definitely our highest priority as we plan our reopening,” Managing Partner Dave Cahill said. “I think installing safety bollards in the front of business locations like ours would eliminate the risk of vehicles crashing into buildings and pedestrians.”

Arlington County is more than a year into an initiative to eliminate traffic fatalities and serious injuries. But because storefront crashes like this one are so rare, they aren’t the focus of Vision Zero efforts, according to the county. Instead, this initiative to eliminate traffic serious injuries and fatalities focuses on locations within Arlington’s High Injury Network.

“These types of crashes are often high-profile, but are uncommon,” says Dept. of Environmental Services spokeswoman Katie O’Brien.

Since 2017, 0.25% of total critical crashes, or 32 out of 13,035, involved a driver hitting a building. Two of these crashes — excluding the Courthouse crash — involved a visible, but not severe, injury, while the remainder resulted in property damage only.

Still, it has restaurateur David Guas, of Bayou Bakery, who watched the crash happen, thinking more about safety as well.

“Witnessing it first hand, I had a flash in the pan thought, ‘someone could’ve come down N. Veitch and into Bayou,'” he said. “Technically, it could happen, especially if this is a freak medical emergency.”

Police announced last month that the rideshare driver who drove straight in to the long-time pub likely suffered a medical emergency and will not face charges.

Risk factors

There are a lot of factors that put people at risk near storefronts, according to Storefront Safety Council cofounder Rob Reiter.

“Outdoor dining is inherently more risky,” says Reiter. “Speeds are up everywhere and… you’re always one drunk away from someone accelerating into a crowd.”

Nationally, based on statistics the council has compiled from news reports, court records and studies, the most common reasons are operator error and pedal confusion, followed by drunk driving.

Storefront crash causes (via Storefront Safety Council)

In Arlington, of the serious crashes into a building, almost 30% involved a drunk driver, O’Brien said.

A driver suffering a “medical event” in a crash, as is believed to have happened with Four Courts, is fairly common, Reiter says. Council data indicate medical events make up 9% of storefront crashes.

The bigger issue here, Reiter said, is that the pub sits at a “T” intersection.

These are common in Arlington, in areas of low speed limits and multiple traffic signals and traffic signs, O’Brien said. The intersection ending in Ireland’s Four Courts “was and is being looked at for redesign, as is standard,” she added.

Another hairy traffic configuration is when perpendicular parking abuts the entrance to a store, said another Storefront Safety Council cofounder, Mark Wright, who was hit 14 years ago by a woman who rolled through a parking spot and into the 7-Eleven he was exiting.

While it is convenient, Wright said, “it’s a very risky parking arrangement and obviously parking is a critical component of any thriving, successful shopping center.”

Per Storefront Safety Council data, 23% of crashes involved retail stores and 19% involved restaurants.

Read More

2 Comment

A house fire in the Old Glebe neighborhood last night sent one person to the hospital.

The fire happened on N. Upland Street between N. Glebe Road and 38th Street N. around 5:30 p.m. Initial reports suggest that a plumber accidentally sliced an electrical line, injuring them and sparking a fire.

Firefighters extinguished the flames, brought the injured worker to a nearby hospital via ambulance, and worked to clear out some of the smoke from the home.

Several vans from a local plumbing company could be seen parked in front of the residence.

A fire department spokesman said the injured person had non-life-threatening injuries, but was unable to confirm the exact circumstances.

“The Arlington County Fire Department was dispatched around 5:35pm for a reported structure fire in the 3800 block of N. Upland Street,” Capt. Nate Hiner told ARLnow. “Crews arrived quickly and found a small fire that was swiftly extinguished. The origin and cause remain under investigation by our Fire Prevention Office. [One] civilian was transported to an area hospital with non-life threatening injuries.”

2 Comment

Smoke from the shed fire in Green Valley (photo courtesy anonymous)

(Updated at 4:10 p.m.) A shed next to a house caught fire and filled a portion of the Green Valley neighborhood with smoke this afternoon.

The blaze prompted a large fire department response to the 2400 block of S. Oakland Street but firefighters later determined that the flames had not spread to the house, according to scanner traffic. The fire has since been extinguished.

Despite the main house not catching on fire, the blaze has displaced seven residents, according to the Arlington County Fire Department. One person was taken to a local hospital in stable condition, ACFD said.

0 Comments

Fire response at Mt. Olivet Methodist Church (photo via ACFD)

Mt. Olivet Methodist Church suffered about $1 million in damage as a result of an early morning fire on Friday.

That’s according to the Arlington County Fire Department, which also said in a press release today (Monday) that the cause of the fire in the church’s attic “remains undetermined.”

From ACFD:

At approximately 2:42 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 14, 2022, the Arlington County Fire Department responded to a reported structure fire in the 1500 block of N. Glebe Road.

Units quickly arrived on the scene and found fire through the roof of the structure. Due to significant smoke conditions and amount of work required to extinguish the fire, a second alarm was quickly requested bringing additional firefighters to the scene. The fire was extinguished within 30 minutes of dispatch time, and firefighters then worked carefully to remove material from the area of origin to fully check for hot spots or any fire extension.

Units from the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department, Alexandria Fire Department, and Joint Base Myer – Henderson Hall Fire Department assisted on this incident.

The Arlington County Fire Prevention Office conducted a thorough origin and cause investigation and concluded that the fire started in the attic space; currently the cause remains undetermined. Initial estimated damages are $1,000,000.

Located at 1500 N. Glebe Road, just north of Ballston, Mt. Olivet is built on the oldest church site in continuous use in Arlington.

There’s no word yet on when services inside the church might resume. Mt. Olivet’s pastor said the sanctuary and preschool wings of the church were not damaged, though the music and education wing likely has “extensive smoke and water damage.”

The church held an outdoor worship service on Sunday, as covered by NBC 4.

0 Comments
×

Subscribe to our mailing list