Bangkok 54’s grocery store has reopened, nine months after a fire tore through the business and forced it to shut down.
The market is connected to the Bangkok 54 Thai restaurant at 2919 Columbia Pike, which was able to open the day after the Dec. 12 fire. Owner Bundit Sookmee said the fire, which was concentrated in the front of the store, forced him to spend eight months rebuilding and restocking the store, which specializes in Asian grocery products.
“Everything was gone,” he told ARLnow.com today. “The ceiling fell down, there was water everywhere. You couldn’t even walk in here. We had to throw everything away.”
The market reopened three weeks ago, Sookmee said, largely unchanged, aside from a different layout of refrigerators and shelving. One change that could be coming soon: a 15-20 seat cafe serving fast meals like Thai noodle soup for customers in a hurry. The new cafe would be connected to the market, not the Thai restaurant, and Sookmee is currently applying for county permits in hopes of opening soon.
Cherry Trees Planted at Library — As part of its Neighborhood Tree Planting Program, the National Cherry Blossom Festival and the Japan-America Society of Washington planted three cherry trees in front of Arlington Central Library yesterday. The program “is an effort to celebrate and share the gift of cherry blossom trees throughout the DC-metro region… and helps create new National Cherry Blossom Festival traditions beyond the Tidal Basin,” festival organizers said in a statement. [Facebook]
Whole Foods Deli, Chicken Counter Stay Closed — The main grocery store and much of the prepared foods sections at the Clarendon Whole Foods (2700 Wilson Blvd) are open following Tuesday’s fire, but county officials say the market deli and chicken counter will stay closed until the health inspector approves its reopening.
County to Consider Privatizing Volunteer Agency — Changes may be coming to Volunteer Arlington, the county’s volunteer agency. Arlington County Manager Barbara Donnellan is establishing a new advisory task force “to look into whether Arlington’s volunteer office is the right business model to meet community needs.” The task force will consider whether outsourcing Volunteer Arlington “would enhance volunteer activity in the community.” [Arlington County]
Restaurant Exceeds Kickstarter Goal — SER, the winner of Ballston’s Restaurant Challenge, has exceeded its $15,000 Kickstarter goal. The Spanish comfort food restaurant, coming to 1110 N. Glebe Road in Ballston, has so far raised $17,145. It also received a $245,000 interest-free loan as the prize for winning the Restaurant Challenge. [Kickstarter]
Arlington GOP Blasts Olympic Bid — Arlington Republicans do not share Democratic officials’ enthusiasm for the regional bid to host the 2024 Summer Olympics. “It’s not a great idea,” said local GOP chairman Matt Wavro, citing costs and security concerns. [InsideNova]
Flickr pool photo by Rob Cannon
(Updated at 4:35 p.m.) The Whole Foods Market in Clarendon was evacuated Tuesday afternoon after smoke started spewing from the roof.
Arlington County firefighters rushed to the 2700 Wilson Blvd. store after they received a rescue call at about 2:45 p.m., ACFD spokeswoman Lt. Sarah Marchegiani said.
The fire was put out quickly and all customers and staff were ordered to leave as firefighters searched for hot spots.
The blaze started on a stove in the front area where rotisserie chickens are sold and and was extinguished by the store’s employees, Marchegiani said. Patches of grease then caught fire in a cooking vent.
No injuries were reported.
A health inspector was called to ensure the store will be safe for re-entry. When the store can reopen won’t be known until an inspector can make an assessment, county Department of Human Services spokesman Kurt Larrick said.
“Hopefully it is just minor damage and there are no food safety issues, and they will be back up and running soon,” Larrick said.
One lane of Clarendon Blvd was shut down to accommodate emergency vehicles.
Ethan Rothstein contributed reporting
Firefighters are on the scene of an electrical fire at an apartment building on Columbia Pike.
The fire was reported around 9:45 a.m., at the Dorchester Apartments on the 1900 block of Columbia Pike. The fire is said to be under control.
Dominion crews and a building inspector are en route to the scene.
Update on 9/15/14 — Part of the apartment complex was deemed an “unsafe structure” after the fire, displacing 109 residents, according to an Arlington County news release:
This morning, Arlington County firefighters and building inspectors responded to a minor electrical fire that started in one of the four apartment buildings located at 1930 Columbia Pike. There were no injuries.
An “unsafe structure” order will be in effect as of 7:00 p.m. tonight until further notice. County emergency personnel will be escorting residents into the building to gather their personal belongings. Approximately 109 people are affected. The property management company for the apartment is placing affected residents in nearby hotels.
“Keeping our residents safe is always our number one priority,” said Shahriar Amiri, Arlington County’s Chief Building Official. “Currently, all four buildings are without power, and with these conditions, we’ve determined these buildings to be ‘unsafe’ for residents.”
A dryer caught fire early this evening in a townhouse on the 1100 block of N. Taylor Street in Ballston, igniting the laundry room in the basement of a home.
The Arlington County Fire Department arrived on the narrow street at 5:00 p.m., according to ACFD Battalion Chief Dan Fitch. The home’s occupant found the fire, left the building and called 9-1-1, Fitch said No one else was inside and no injuries were reported.
The fire was knocked down at 5:08 p.m., before it could spread to other rooms or to any neighboring units, Fitch said. The street smelled slightly of smoke in the minutes following the small blaze, but no trace of fire damage could be seen from the exterior of the house.
County Seeks Fraud Hotline Vendor — Arlington County has issued a request for proposals for a new fraud hotline. The hotline is intended to provide “a safe and confidential process for employees to report ethical issues anonymously through a third-party vendor and to be assured that their concerns are heard and dealt with.” [InsideNova]
Eden Center Tenants Sue Landlord — Tenants at the Eden Center in Falls Church are suing the shopping center’s landlord, saying that the building is crumbling due to poor maintenance and nothing is being done about it. [Washington Post]
Kudos for Barcroft — The $3 million ballpark at Barcroft Park, which was paid for and is used by George Washington University, has been named the top college baseball facility in the A-10 conference and the 68th-best college ballpark in the nation. [GW Sports]
1812 Overture Concert Tomorrow — The U.S. Army Band “Pershing’s Own” will be performing the famed 1812 Overture Saturday at 7:30 p.m. on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall. The concert will be held at Summerall Field and will feature cannon fire to accompany the classic Tchaikovsky composition. [Ode Street Tribune, U.S. Army Band]
JBMHH Firefighters Battle Arlington Blaze — Firefighters from Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, who often are dispatched on calls in Arlington County as part of a mutual aid agreement, helped to extinguish a fire at a Columbia Pike apartment complex last week. [DVIDS]
Photo courtesy Larry Bowring
(Updated at 10:30 a.m.) The Arlington County Fire Department responded to an apartment fire on Columbia Pike this morning.
The fire was reported around 9:30 a.m. in the rear mechanical room of an apartment building at 2008 Columbia Pike. Firefighters were able to quickly bring the fire under control and douse the flames.
No injuries were reported. It’s unclear if any residents will be displaced as a result of the fire.
Arlington County firefighters battled a furniture fire on Friday night (August 1) that sent up plumes of smoke near Glebe Road and N. Pershing Drive.
They were called to 218 N. Glebe Road, where furniture placed next to a dumpster had caught fire around 8:15 p.m. An ACFD spokesperson says it took longer than usual for responders to get to the scene because they initially received the wrong address.
Firefighters easily extinguished the flames once they arrived on scene. Nobody was hurt.
The fire marshal is investigating the incident to determine if the fire was an accident or if it was set intentionally.
Video courtesy of Eric Davis
Fire at Pentagon Metro Station — A trash fire on the tracks at the Pentagon Metro station just before 8:00 this morning caused the station to fill with smoke. The fire was quickly extinguished by Arlington firefighters, but not before it resulted in delays on the Blue, Yellow and Green lines.
Capitals to Hold Blood Drive — The Washington Capitals will hold their annual summer blood drive at Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Ballston this weekend. The event will take place from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Saturday. [Associated Press]
New Bus Route Serving Shirlington — Alexandria’s DASH will begin new service to the Shirlington Transit Center on Monday. The DASH AT9 will run from the Mark Center to Shirlington to Potomac Yard. [DASH Bus]
WJLA Sale Approved — The sale of Rosslyn-based TV station WJLA (ABC 7) has received FCC approval. Long-time owner Allbritton Communications is selling WJLA, NewsChannel 8 and seven other stations to Maryland-based Sinclair Broadcast Group. [Politico]
Flickr pool photo by Brian Allen
NBC4 ‘Celebrates’ Arlington — NBC4 reporter Angie Goff anchored a series of segments about Arlington this morning. Goff broadcast live from Bob & Edith’s Diner on Columbia Pike, and had a number of on-air guests. One segment — “celebrating romance in Arlington” — featured a bartender from Carpool in Ballston, County Board Vice Chair Mary Hynes and a rousing game of cornhole. [NBC Washington]
Neighbors Remember Boy Killed By Car — Neighbors are remembering 8-year-old Ashlawn Elementary School student Eli Sachar, who was killed over the weekend when he and other family members were struck by a car in a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio. No charges have been filed against the driver so far, though the crash remains under investigation. [WJLA]
Arlington Teens Injured in Charlottesville Stabbing — Two 19-year-old men from Arlington were stabbed in Charlottesville Saturday night. The victims were both visiting friends at UVA for the weekend. A witness said the incident started when someone threw a beer can in the direction of the two suspects. [NBC 29]
Board to Consider Art Grants — The Arlington County Board this weekend is set to consider nearly $200,000 in art grants. The Arlington Commission for the Arts has recommended the grants be distributed to 20 different local recipients. [Arlington County]
Bus Lights Bush on Fire — Firefighters responded to the Exxon station at the corner of Wilson Blvd and N. Rhodes Street in Rosslyn yesterday for a report of a bush on fire. The fire was quickly extinguished, though a section of bush was denuded by the combination of flames and high water pressure. The fire was caused when a bus backed into the bush and the heat from the engine caused the shrubbery to combust. [Twitter]
Flickr pool photo by Joseph Gruber
Firefighters Battle Three-Alarm Blaze — Firefighters from Fairfax County and Arlington battled a three alarm fire at a senior living community Friday night. The facility, Lockwood House, is located on the 600 block of N. Madison Street, just across the Arlington border in Fairfax County. The building’s nearly 100 apartments were evacuated as the fire spread from an electrical transformer to a utility room containing a diesel generator and fuel tanks. [WUSA 9]
Three More Schools to Get FLES — Updated at 1:45 p.m. — Three additional schools will be getting Arlington Public Schools’ Foreign Language in Elementary School program, starting this fall. Tuckahoe, Nottingham and Oakridge will be getting the program, which provides Spanish language education to elementary students. The program also eliminates early release Wednesdays at schools that have it. Parents have been pushing Arlington elected officials to fund FLES at all elementary schools; the school system is planning to do so, but over a period of a couple years. [InsideNova]
Beyer Endorsed By WaPo — Former Va. lieutenant governor Don Beyer has been endorsed by the Washington Post in the Democratic primary to decide who will be the party’s nominee to succeed Rep. Jim Moran in Congress. “Mr. Beyer is, simply, an excellent candidate,” the Post’s editorial board opines. “He would make a first-rate addition to this region’s unusually effective congressional delegation.” [Washington Post]
Business Soaring for Arlington Bird Seed Store — Business continues to grow for the 23-year-old Wild Birds Unlimited store at the Lee Harrison Shopping Center (2437 N. Harrison Street). This winter’s frigid temperatures actually resulted in a sales boom, as birds sought food sources that weren’t iced over and bird-watching customers sought seed in order to attract those birds to their backyards. The store — No. 66 of the chain’s nearly 300 stores in North America — recorded $800,000 in sales last year and is hoping to crack the $1 million mark soon. [Washington Business Journal]
Firefighters were called to a home on the 4400 block of Pershing Court in the Barcroft neighborhood around 4:45 this morning for reports of a fire. Units arrived six minutes later and found flames coming out of a front window on the top floor, according to Arlington County Fire Department spokeswoman Lt. Sarah-Maria Marchegiani.
The blaze was quickly extinguished but firefighters found a cat inside the home in “respiratory distress,” Marchegiani said. The cat, which was foaming at the mouth as a result of smoke inhalation, was brought outside and given oxygen. It was then transported to an animal hospital — the VCA SouthPaws Veterinary Specialists & Emergency Center on Route 50 — where it is now listed in stable condition.
There were no human injuries as a result of the fire. The blaze caused about $50,000 in damage.
Investigators are still trying to determine the cause of the fire, which started in an upstairs bedroom, according to Marchegiani. Other than the cat, the home was unoccupied — its residents were on vacation at the time.
Photo courtesy ACFD
(Updated at 3:10 p.m.) Firefighters from Arlington and Fairfax counties battled a two-alarm fire in the central business district of Falls Church.
Units on scene reported flames coming from a 5-story office building at 150 S. Washington Street. Falls Church Police Department spokeswoman Amy Betor said it took firefighters “about 30 minutes to extinguish.” Scanner traffic reported there were initial problems with water pressure at the scene.
There were no injuries reported, despite the office building being occupied at the time.
The fire appears to have started from an electrical room on the second floor, Betor said. A web search revealed real estate company Redfin has an office in Suite 200 of the building, but those on scene couldn’t confirm which company’s office the fire started in.
Randy Karn works on the third floor of the building, and said he started smelling “something electrical burning” about 10 minutes before the fire alarm went off.
“I went out into the office and after about 60 seconds it was filled with smoke,” Karn told ARLnow.com as he was standing outside the building. “It was time to go. I left my wallet, I left my keys, I left my laptop and got out of there.”
Arlington County provides firefighting services to the City of Falls Church under contract. Karn said he estimated the firefighters took between 10 and 15 minutes to arrive. The fire “had a hell of a time getting going,” building slowly, but flames were already showing out of the window by the time firefighters arrived on scene.
The fire broke out near the attendance office, according to Arlington Public Schools spokeswoman Linda Erdos. It was quickly extinguished, but not before the school’s sprinklers caused some flooding in the hallway.
Students and school personnel were evacuated for about 15-20 chilly minutes. They reentered the school when the fire department gave the all-clear.
“Everyone is okay and the students and staff did a great job responding to the alarm in the way that we have practiced,” Washington-Lee principal Gregg Robertson said in an email to parents. “The APS facilities team are here to help with the clean up. We are thankful for the support of our county agencies.”
Photo courtesy @RobertoClaure
The fire broke out just before 9:00 a.m. Saturday in an HVAC unit on the roof of the school. Firefighters from several jurisdictions responded and helped to extinguish the blaze. The HVAC system was damaged and water from the firefighting effort flooded into the school’s band room, below.
“There was just water damage to the band room,” said Arlington Public Schools spokesman Frank Bellavia. “Crews were able to dry the carpet over the weekend.”
“The fire has not impacted any classes or extracurricular activities at the school,” Bellavia said.
Photo courtesy S. Stein