The incident occurred in the basement of a barracks building on the 400 block of Sheridan Ave. sometime around 10:00 a.m. today.
Reports of a “a foul smell and complaints of eyes being irritated” led to the incident, according to a statement from the military base.
“The source of the odor has been determined to be a chemical reaction between various unknown supplies in a storage supply closet,” the statement continued. “All indications are that this is not terrorist or criminal related.”
Despite earlier reports of a “hydrogen cyanide leak,” the odor actually came from overheated radio batteries, according to the Arlington County Fire Department.
Update on hazmat: odor was from overheated radio batteries, units ventilated the building and will clear when cleaned up
— Arlington Fire (@ACFDPIO) September 30, 2016
The building was evacuated and crews evaluated at least seven people onsite. Nobody was taken to the hospital following the incident, however.
Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall is holding an active shooter training exercise this morning.
The exercise is being held from 9 a.m. to noon. Locals should expect at least one of the base’s gates — the one near the Sheraton hotel along Columbia Pike — to be closed periodically during the exercise.
From the JBMHH public affairs office:
Please be advised that emergency response activity may be seen at the base and in the surrounding communities during the exercise.
Henderson Hall Gate 1, off Southgate Road and S. Orme Street in Arlington, will be closed intermittently between 9 a.m. and 12 p.m. during the exercise.
All other gates, to include Hatfield and Wright Gates, will remain open. Drivers to the base should plan to use the other gates between 9 a.m. and 12 p.m. to avoid the Gate 1 closure. As a reminder, both Henderson Hall Gate 1 and Wright Gate are for DoD ID card holders only.
Please refer to JBM-HH Facebook at www.facebook.com/jbmhh for additional updates.
Military Base: No Pokemon Players, Please — Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall is advising visitors that hunting Pokemon is not a valid reason for visiting the base, even though Pokemon supposedly abound there. “There’s multiple Pokestops and gyms on post,” noted a military police officer, who added that she has played the game “to learn more about it.” [Pentagram]
‘Oasis’ For Runners Near Key Bridge — Amid sweltering temperatures, local running store Pacers is setting up an “oasis” Saturday morning from 7-10 a.m. near the Key Bridge and the Mt. Vernon and Custis trails. The oasis will offer “nutrition, hydration, and a shady place to take a break.” [Pacers]
Twilighter 5K Saturday — Crystal City will hold its annual Twilighter 5K race Saturday evening. The race starts at 8:30 p.m. Expect lane and road closures in the area. [ARLnow]
Flickr pool photo by xmeeksx
County Looking at Fire Station Alternatives — The Arlington County Board on Saturday approved an agreement with Arlington Public Schools that would allow it to build a temporary fire station on the grounds of the new H-B Woodlawn school in Rosslyn. However, in response to parent concerns the Board directed county staff to look into potential alternative locations. [InsideNova, Arlington County]
Couple: Snow Melter Fumes Contaminated Our House — A couple who lives near Bluemont Park says diesel fumes from a snow melter that the county was using about 40 yards from their home this past winter has contaminated the home. The county paid for the couple to live in a hotel while the snow melter was running, in the wake of January’s blizzard. Now the couple wants the county to pay for a thorough cleaning of the home. [Washington Post]
Henry Gate to Reopen — The Henry Gate along Route 50 at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall will reopen to military bicyclists and pedestrians on Aug. 1. Among other expected benefits, the gate is expected to serve military users of Uber and Lyft; the ride hailing services are not available on the base. [Mobility Lab]
Police Escort Ducklings Across Road — An ACPD officers and a couple of “alert citizens” helped a mother duck and her ducklings cross N. Stafford Street on Friday. [Twitter]
More on Clarendon Drug Bust — One of the regular meetups for the alleged Clarendon drug ring was Whitlow’s on Wilson, where two of the suspects worked. “It was shocking, disappointing and frustrating to hear that any of this activity took place around our business and the neighborhood,” said Whitlow’s manager Jon Williams, noting that most other Clarendon bars were also named as areas of drug activity. [NBC Washington]
Board Approves Changes to Ballston Building — Originally proposed as an office building, the last building in the Founder’s Square project in Ballston will instead be built as a mixed use building, with a mix of retail, office and apartments. [Arlington County]
Beyer Participates in House Sit-In — Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) was among the Democratic members of the House of Representatives participating in a sit-in for gun control. Beyer gave a speech on the House floor at 4:15 this morning. [C-SPAN, Twitter]
Arlington’s 11-Year-Old Police Chief — Carlin Springs Elementary student Nathnael Abraham, 11, served as Arlington’s Police Chief-for-the-Day on Tuesday. As chief Nathnael was especially concerned about bank robberies. “I think the most important crime problem would be robberies — bank robberies, because they’re taking money that belongs to other people, and that’s not OK,” he told NBC4’s Pat Collins. [NBC Washington]
Garvey: Vacancy Rate Still Too High — Even though it’s come down by 1 percent in the past year, Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey says Arlington’s 20.2 percent office vacancy rate is way too high. The county has been actively working to attract businesses and bring the rate down. Each 1 percent of vacancy costs the county about $3.4 million in tax revenue. [Arlington County]
Whistleblower Hotline to Be Expanded — Arlington County will be expanding its recently-implemented waste, fraud and abuse hotline this fall. The hotline, currently only available for county employees, will be opened to the general public. In its first year, the hotline received 13 complaints, one of which resulted in a policy change and two of which are still under review. No widespread waste or fraud was uncovered, the county says. [InsideNova]
New Agreement With JBMHH — On June 15 Arlington County and Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall signed a new memorandum of agreement for a partnership that will provide services and cost savings to the base. [Pentagram]
Flickr pool photo by Brian Irwin
Dominion Admits Culpability for Potomac Oil Spill — Last week’s mysterious oil spill that ran from the Roaches Run Waterfowl Sanctuary, down the Potomac past Reagan National Airport, came from a Dominion Power substation in Crystal City. The company is taking responsibility for the mineral oil spill, which killed 21 birds, mostly Canada geese, and prompted a large Coast Guard and Arlington County cleanup response. [Washington Post]
Loverde Issues Statement on Scalia’s Death — Diocese of Arlington Bishop Paul Loverde issued a statement on the passing of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia over the weekend. Loverde said “we are all deeply saddened” by Scalia’s unexpected death, lauding him as “a man so deeply rooted in his faith, so brilliant in the law and in jurisprudence, so clear and precise in his judicial statements, so wholly committed to his family, so engaging with colleagues and friends, often with great humor.” [Catholic Diocese of Arlington]
D.C. Denies St. Paddy’s Bar Crawls — The annual Shamrock Crawl bar crawl will be coming to Clarendon next month. Arlington police helped keep a lid on crime and rowdiness associated with the bar crawl last year. In the District, however, concerns about bad behavior prompted officials to deny permit applications for the D.C. version of the Shamrock Crawl and another St. Patrick’s Day-themed crawl. [Borderstan]
Garvey on Kojo Show — On Friday, Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey was a guest on the Kojo Nnamdi Politics Hour, which is broadcast on WAMU (88.5 FM). Garvey spoke to Nnamdi and NBC 4’s Tom Sherwood about the proposed widening of a portion of eastbound I-66, as well as related topics like Metro and transit. [YouTube]
W-L Shot Put Record Smashed — Washington-Lee High School junior Benedict Draghi has convincingly set a new school record for shot put. At a recent track meet, Draghi recorded a throw of 61 feet and 4.75 inches. The performance was good for first place at the meet and it blew away the school’s 50-year-old previous indoor shot put record by nearly 10 feet. [InsideNova]
Old Guard Offers Horses for Adoption — The Army’s Old Guard, based at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, is offering two caisson horses for adoption. The horses, Quincy and Kennedy, have served in military funerals and ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery for almost a decade. [WJLA]
Volunteers Remove Wreaths from Cemetery — Despite bone-chilling cold temperatures, on Saturday volunteers picked up tens of thousands of holiday wreaths that were placed on headstones at Arlington National Cemetery in December. The cleanup was postponed from January due to the blizzard. [WUSA 9]
Flickr pool photo by WolfpackWX
The incident is taking place at the Cody Child Development Center on the base. Firefighters were dispatched there shortly after 10 a.m.
According to scanner traffic, employees and children were evacuated to an auditorium due to a high level of carbon monoxide in the building. The source of the CO has been traced back to a malfunctioning boiler.
Firefighters are ventilating the building while a hazmat team continues to monitor conditions. Medics treated and monitored at least eight patients, who are suffering nausea and anxiety-like symptoms. No patients required transport to the hospital.
A crew of firefighters was dispatched to the center’s kitchen to retrieve infant formula for some of the children, according to scanner traffic.
Around noon, Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall issued the following press release about the incident, asking parents to come pick up their children.
A “suspicious odor” reported this morning at the Cody Child Development Center on the Fort Myer portion of Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall has led to the relocation of the center’s children to another portion of the center as JBM-HH Fire and Rescue services investigate.
Emergency services responded after detection of a “suspicious odor” in the facility earlier this morning. At approximately 11:30 a.m., the emergency services
Parents of the children have been notified and are asked by the center’s management to pick up their children as soon as possible.
“Our primary concern is the safety of everyone involved,” said Col. Mike Henderson, JBM-HH commander. “We are doing everything possible to mitigate any potential danger to children, staff and others involved.”
Children are being screened and will be treated by medical services on scene.
Joint base officials said that there is a plan in place to quickly relocate children to another portion of the joint base if responders’ investigation determines that there is indeed a safety hazard present.
Parents seeking additional information about the situation can contact the Cody Child Development Center’s management at 703-696-3712.
Additional information will be released as available. Please check the JBM-HH Facebook page at www.facebook.com/jbmhh for additional details as they become available.
ACFD on scene of a CO incident at Ft. Myer. Several patients were evaluated but not transported. Units will be clearing the scene soon.
— Arlington Fire (@ACFDPIO) January 14, 2016
With the new year, some Arlington residents are finding Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall’s recently-updated access policy also extends to the base’s bowling center.
According to an ARLnow.com reader, civilians are no longer allowed to bowl on base, in leagues or otherwise, except in certain circumstance. He said he and his friends have been bowling on base for years without incident.
“I’m told the bowling leagues were decimated since many team members were civilians,” the tipster said.
Civilians who are not escorted by someone with a Department of Defense ID are not being allowed on base to bowl, unless they have a special access pass, Robert Joswiak from the JBMHH public affairs office confirmed.
Joswiak said the security policy has not changed since it was updated nearly a year ago. Last summer, the same policy caused a stir among local cyclists who could no longer ride through base without first applying for and receiving an Automated Installation Entry (AIE) pass.
“Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall takes every precaution to assure the safety and wellbeing of joint base residents, personnel and visitors,” Joswiak said. “Non-affiliated members of the public are being turned away — no matter their intent of entering the base, bowling center or otherwise — because they either do not have an DoD ID, or are not being escorted by someone with a DoD ID, or do not have an AIE.”
Civilians, cyclists and bowlers can apply for an AIE for base access. If they do so with the sponsorship of a family member or friend with a valid Department of Defense ID, the approved AIE could be valid for up to one year. A non-sponsored AIE pass is valid for 60 days with the option to reapply after that time is up.
Joswiak added all non-affiliated individuals — those without a DoD ID who are not being escorted by someone with a DoD ID — must have a valid reason to enter the base and are subject to vetting. It is likely members of the public will be turned away unless they are escorted or have an AIE.
Questions regarding this policy can be directed to 703-696-8968, Joswiak said.
Photos via JBMHH
The incident happened Saturday afternoon. Police say the men broke into a house on the 2100 block of 2nd Street S., near the entrance to the base, and stole an 18 pack of beer and a NASCAR sweatshirt.
The men were arrested and held at the Arlington County jail on a military detainer. From the Arlington County Police crime report:
BURGLARY, 151114050, 2100 block of S. 2nd Street. At approximately 4:45 p.m. on November 14, two subjects entered a residence and stole an 18 pack of beer and a NASCAR sweatshirt. Benjamin Wilson, 21, of Ft. Myer, VA and Alexander Heintz, 19, of Ft. Myer, VA were arrested and charged with burglary, destruction of property and larceny from auto. Both were held on a military detainer.
The visit to the military base next to Arlington National Cemetery will come after the president holds a joint press conference in the White House Rose Garden with Chinese president Xi Jinping.
“Later in the afternoon, the President will deliver remarks at an Armed Forces Full Honors Retirement Ceremony in honor of General Martin Dempsey,” the president’s schedule says.
The president is expected to arrive at the base via motorcade, assisted in part by the Arlington County Police Department.
Investigation into Marine’s Death at Base — The military is investigating the death of a 22-year-old Marine at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall. Cpl. Jon Gee was reportedly found unresponsive in his room on the base Saturday afternoon, after a night out at “a rave in the District.” [Washington Post]
Rousselot Blasts Lack of Pike Transit Plan — The fact that Arlington County has no transit plan yet for Columbia Pike, after the cancellation of the streetcar last year, is frustrating to Peter Rousselot, who helped to lead the charge against the streetcar. “I think it is a failure of management,” he told WAMU. “The answer on the Pike that our group presented all along… was a regional Bus Rapid Transit system, or BRT, involving Arlington, Alexandria, and Fairfax County.” [WAMU]
Tour of New Elementary School — Arlington Public Schools led members of the media on a tour of the new Discovery Elementary School on Thursday. Located next to Williamsburg Middle School, it’s the county’s first new primary school in over a decade. Discovery is designed to be a “net zero” consumer of energy thanks to renewable energy features. [WTOP, Katch]
GMU ‘Welcome Fair’ Today — George Mason University’s Arlington campus is holding a “Welcome Fair” for students between 5:30 and 8 p.m. today. [Twitter]
Library Helps With Business Plans — Arlington Public Library helped the owners of Clarendon Animal Care, an ARLnow.com advertiser, create a business plan and launch their business. The library has a business services librarian and number of resources for entrepreneurs, including access to a premium database that compiles demographic data by ZIP code. [Twitter]
More on Arlington Radio Station — WERA, Arlington’s new community radio station, hopes to launch by December. The station will cost Arlington Independent Media, best known as the nonprofit behind Arlington’s local cable access channel, about $400,000. [Arlington Connection]
Flickr pool photo by Arlington VA
The coffee shop plans to open its doors at 5:00 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 14. Located in the former Bar TNT and Society Fair space at Penrose Square, the store will be the first Starbucks along the Pike in Arlington.
In addition to the normal menu of coffee, espresso drinks, teas, pastries and sandwiches, the new Pike Starbucks will offer Starbucks Reserve, “a special collection of unique, small-lot coffees.”
“Customers will be able to order their Starbucks Reserve coffee brewed on The Clover Brewing System, which lets you discover new layers and dimensions within a coffee’s familiar aroma, flavor, body and acidity, brewed fresh by the cup,” said a spokeswoman.
Asked why the company chose to finally open a location on Columbia Pike, the spokeswoman said “Starbucks is always looking for great locations to better meet the needs of our customers.”
This isn’t the only Starbucks to open in Arlington this month. Yesterday a new Starbucks opened its doors at the Fort Myer Exchange on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall.
Changes to the access policy at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall has some cyclists changing their routes and at least one abandoning bicycling to work altogether.
The new security policy, which started in February, affects cyclists who bike through base, which has been fairly common practice, especially for those along Columbia Pike and Route 50 seeking a safer route to D.C.
Previously, cyclists and other members of the public could enter the base through any of three gates just by going through a security check. Now, only the Hatfield Gate at Washington Blvd and 2nd Street N. remains accessible to non-Department of Defense visitors, and cyclists seeking a round trip route (mostly via the Wright Gate near the Iwo Jima memorial) to have to apply for a special 60-day pass.
The Automated Installation Entry (AIE) pass requires a a criminal records check and pass holders must reapply for it every 60 days in order to access the base.
Arlington County has made encouraging bicycling instead of driving a key transportation priority and has JBMHH routes listed on its bicycle maps. Given the significant inconvenience, however, some are reconsidering.
“At least one person I’ve spoken with is no longer biking into D.C. because the process of constantly renewing an AIE pass is too onerous and he feels the alternative routes are too dangerous or too long,” said Chris Slatt, president of the Penrose Neighborhood Association and a cycling advocate. “With this alternative off the table for non-federal employees, the County needs to make the Pike safe for cycling ASAP.”
Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall is updating its website to reflect changes for cyclists, said Sharon Walker, who works in the Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall public affairs department.
Application for the AIE pass must be delivered in person to the Visitor Control Center (Building 415) at the base and cannot be submitted online. Cyclists can also apply for a sponsored one-year pass, which requires a signature from someone who has a Department of Defense ID.
Lyon Park cyclist Jeff Hopp frequently bikes through the base and uses Wright Gate. When he went to turn his application for a sponsored pass in, there was a sign posted to the door saying the computer system was currently down and applications would not be processed until a new system was installed, he said.
Previously Hopp would only have to show his ID to enter through Wright Gate. Now when he bikes into D.C., he uses the recently-installed Route 50 trail, which he says is poorly marked and maintained.
“The problem with that trail is that there are no marked bike lanes on the side access road you have to ride on before/after you use that new trail… and the trail isn’t maintained at all it seems. There are small limbs, gravel, glass and overgrown vegetation on the edges,” Hopp said in an email.
His new route adds about five to 10 minutes to his total travel time, he said, adding that overall he was more confused than upset with the base access changes. Other Arlington residents say they’re displeased with the base’s new policy.
Gillian Burgess, chairman of the Arlington Bicycle Advisory Committee, said the lack of communication between the base and Arlington residents about the changes is disappointing.
New Gymnastics, Aquatics Fee Structure — In her FY 2016 budget, County Manager Barbara Donnellan is proposing a new fee structure for gymnastics and aquatics teams. The fees will recover “no more than 100 percent of direct costs,” and would be a savings of around 15 percent compared to the current fees. [Arlington County]
Tighter Security at Fort Myer — Some bicyclists are worried that tighter security measures put in place this week at Fort Myer will limit non-military personnel from accessing the base. Cyclists often use Fort Myer to travel safely between south Arlington and north Arlington without having to ride on Columbia Pike. Arlington County, meanwhile, has been working on some trail projects that would make north-to-south and south-to-north bike travel safer. [Greater Greater Washington]
Goldstein Announces School Board Run — Reid Goldstein has announced that he’s running for Arlington School Board. Goldstein, a “longtime Arlington schools, County and neighborhood advocate,” will seek the seat of the retiring Abby Raphael. “We must be honest and diligent stewards of our community’s money and trust as we work to preserve and improve the high quality of Arlington’s schools, even as enrollment increases,” Goldstein said in a press release.
National Airport Hits Passenger Record — Reagan National Airport set a new record for passenger traffic in 2014. Some 20.8 million passengers used Reagan last year, a 2 percent increase. With traffic decreasing at Dulles International, MWAA plans to share as much as $300 million in revenue from Reagan to Dulles over a 10 year span. [Washington Business Journal]
New Marine Corps Sergeant Major — Assuming they’re not deterred by the cold, the Marine Corps will hold a ceremony this morning at the Iwo Jima War Memorial, celebrating the appointment of Sgt. Maj. Ronald Green. Green will serve as the Corps’ 18th sergeant major, its highest enlisted rank. [Marine Corps Times]
Nick Anderson Leaving Arrowine — Former ARLnow.com “Beermonger” columnist Nick Anderson has announced that he is leaving Arrowine. Saturday will be his last day at the Lee Highway beer and wine store. [Arrowine]
Flickr pool photo by Alan Kotok
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