Brief Ebola Scare at EPA HQ — Hazmat and EMS teams were dispatched to the Environmental Protection Agency headquarters in Crystal City this morning for a possible Ebola patient. After an assessment by a doctor, it was determined that the patient — a man in his 50s — did not have the likely symptoms of Ebola.
Arlington Launches Startup Competition — Arlington County is partnering with the website Tech.Co to run a contest to attract new startups to Arlington. Starting today, startups can apply for the chance to receive three months of free work and living space, plus free legal advice and public transit funds. [Tech.Co, Arlington Economic Development]
Stolen Car Crashes in Fairlington — A stolen car crashed in a quiet Fairlington neighborhood early Tuesday morning, after fleeing from a traffic stop. The suspects fled the scene and police were unable to track them down. [Patch]
Arlington Artist Survey — Arlington Cultural Affairs is surveying local artists about their needs for space to create art. “We would like to understand the space requirements of artists so that we can optimize the use of our current facilities and plan for future growth… Arlington Cultural Affairs is working both internally and externally to ensure that Arlington’s cultural scene remains vibrant and engaging.” The survey deadline is Sept. 30. [Arlington Arts]
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
N. Lexington Street was closed for 45 minutes today after a dump truck caught on fire, causing it to leak hydraulic fluid.
The fire ignited in the truck’s engine compartment around noon, near the intersection of N. Lexington Street and Little Falls Road.
The dump truck leaked about three to five gallons of fluid, said Battalion Chief Matt Herbert, of the Arlington County Fire Department. The fire was started by a mechanical issue, he said.
Hazmat crews had already been to the scene as of 1:15 p.m. They put absorbent on the fluid, which prevented it from going into the storm drains, Herbert said. Most of the fluid was on the right side of the road against the edge.
“The absorbent picks it [hydraulic fluid] up and the company cleans it up and takes it to an authorized dump,” he said.
A hazmat crew and other members of the fire department, including the fire marshal, were still on scene waiting for the contractor to come pick up the absorbent. N. Lexington Street is open, but one lane remains blocked off.
The hydraulic fluid and absorbent are not dangerous to residents Herbert said.
Update at 4:00 p.m. on 7/2/15 — The advisory for Four Mile Run will be lifted on July 4, Arlington County says.
Arlington County is warning people and their pets to avoid the waters of Four Mile Run below S. Walter Reed Drive, for now.
An unknown petroleum product was discovered in the stream this morning, just before 11 a.m. The Arlington County Fire Department’s hazardous materials team used booms to try to contain the spill, while firefighters and the county’s Dept. of Environmental Services investigated the source.
The size of the spill has not been determined and authorities are warning against making contact with the contaminated water, particularly at the nearby Shirlington dog park.
“The public is advised to stay away from the affected water and to keep pets away until further notice, to eliminate the risk of exposure to petroleum products in the stream,” the county said in a press release. “People should not fish in the stream or have any contact with the water – including wading or swimming – until further notice from the County. The advisory to avoid all contact is considered an extra precaution to allow the effect of the discharge to be diminished by natural flushing of the streams.”
The fire department, meanwhile, has been tweeting about the incident.
— Arlington Fire (@ACFDPIO) July 1, 2015
@MrAndersonELA product was coming from a culvert draining into the creek. Probably originated from being dumped or washed into a manhole.
— Arlington Fire (@ACFDPIO) July 1, 2015
Update- Although contained, residual product is still in creek. Dogs and their owners should avoid being in the creek until further notice.
— Arlington Fire (@ACFDPIO) July 1, 2015
Update: Product is contained. 1 source identified. Investigation for additional sources continues. County will issue press release shortly.
— Arlington Fire (@ACFDPIO) July 1, 2015
Photo courtesy ACFD
The spill has been contained to a classroom, according to Arlington County Fire Department spokesman Lt. Sarah Marchegiani.
So far no injuries have been reported.
Students are currently in the building, according to Arlington Public Schools spokesman Frank Bellavia. The facilities staff is trying to determine whether the school will need to be evacuated in order to flush the HVAC system, he said.
Photo courtesy @KateMuth
(Updated at 10:35 a.m.) Arlington County medics, firefighters and the hazmat team are on the scene of a Clarendon apartment building for a potential case of Ebola.
The call came in just after 9:30 this morning, for a possible Ebola patient in the new Beacon at Clarendon apartment building at 1128 N. Irving Street. According to ACFD spokeswoman Lt. Sarah Marchegiani, the department dispatches an Ebola response out of an abundance of caution when a sick person has a travel history and symptoms consistent with a case of the deadly virus.
“While it’s unlikely it’s Ebola, the fire department and the responding hospital are taking all appropriate precautions,” Marchegiani told ARLnow.com.
As of 10:30 a.m., the patient had been transported to Virginia Hospital Center. No definitive diagnosis has been made at this point. Building management declined to comment.
N. Irving Street is blocked between Washington Blvd and 13th Street, according to scanner traffic, but as of 10:30 fire department units were starting to clear the scene.
The last and only other reported instance of a suspected Ebola case in Arlington happened at the Pentagon on Oct. 17. In that case, the patient was found to have made false statements about her travel history — she did not have Ebola.
Update at 5:40 p.m. — In a press release, Arlington County says that the patient most likely does not have Ebola.
Arlington County Fire Department this morning transported a person with fever and a history of recent travel from an Ebola-affected area to the Virginia Hospital Center (VHC) for evaluation. The person had no known exposure to any Ebola cases, and medical findings are not consistent with a diagnosis of Ebola. The person was being monitored by Arlington County Public Health Department (ACPHD) officials under the statewide Virginia Department of Health Arriving Passenger Monitoring Program.
ACPHD will continue to monitor this person, as well as other travelers in the monitoring program, through their entire possible incubation period (21 days). People in the travel monitoring program will continue to be instructed to call 9-1-1 if they are medically unstable or if they do not have private transport. If EMS staff respond, they will wear appropriate personal protective equipment before transporting the person with symptoms.
Arlington County Public Health and Virginia Hospital Center are working together — in collaboration with the Virginia Department of Health — and followed the recommended course of action for such cases. There is no cause for public concern.
Hospital staff and first responders are highly trained to take appropriate precautions for all high-risk patients, routinely drilling and preparing for just such situations. The health and well-being of the community are a primary concern for both the County and VHC, and we want to reassure everyone that the hospital environment is safe for all patients.
To learn more about the Ebola virus, visit the County website, where you can also get answers to frequently asked questions about Ebola. You can also call the Virginia Department of Health’s Ebola Call Center at 877-ASK-VDH3 (877-275-8343).
(Updated at 3:55 p.m.) Arlington County’s hazmat team investigated a chemical leak this afternoon following an equipment malfunction at the Harris Teeter grocery store at 600 N. Glebe Road in Ballston.
Firefighters were initially dispatched to the store at 2:34 p.m. for a report of smoke coming from the rear of the building, a chemical odor and some reporting a burning sensation in their eyes.
According to Arlington County Fire Department spokesman Deputy Fire Marshal Brian McGraw, the problem came from a water treatment system that was filtering water for a tank of live lobsters. The system overheated and partially melted. In the process, a chemical — “a type of bromate,” McGraw said — heated and turned into a large vapor cloud.
The system was in a storage room in the back of the store and medics treated a vendor who “breathed in a large amount” of the vapor, McGraw said. The vendor declined an ambulance transport. McGraw said minimal exposure to the chemical is harmless, and customers and employees are now being allowed back into the store.
A health inspector is en route to evaluate whether any food might be contaminated.
Update at 6:30 p.m.: Investigators have determined that the substances found in the apartment were cleaning supplies and chemicals such as acetone, police spokesman Lt. Kip Malcolm told ARLnow.com. The substances were held in “weird containers,” for reasons unknown. Hazmat teams have cleared the scene.
Earlier: Police and the Arlington County hazmat team are investigating a possible drug lab found in a Crystal City apartment.
Arlington County Police, Virginia State Police and the hazmat team were called to the Crystal Square Apartments (1515 Jefferson Davis Highway) this afternoon after the Arlington County Sheriff’s Office found “suspicious items” and substances in an apartment during an eviction. The items include laboratory equipment like respirators, scales and beakers, according to ACPD spokesman Lt. Kip Malcolm.
The hazmat team is performing tests on the items to determine what they are and if they’re hazardous. While the equipment may be for some sort of drug lab, it’s not suspected to be a meth lab, which would have prompted evacuations. So far, the building has not been evacuated, Malcolm said.
There have been no reports of any health problems in the apartment building nor of any arrests made by police. Police have closed a portion of 15th Street S. near the scene as the investigation continues.
Hazmat teams have closed off 9th Street N. between N. Stuart and Stafford Streets to respond to the situation. The suspicious package was found in the mailroom of one of NSF’s two buildings, according to scanner traffic.
The Arlington Alert system sent out a message advising motorists and others to avoid the area while the Arlington County Fire and Police departments complete their investigation.
Photo via @Louis3E
Fallon, Baker Out; Omara, Schneider In for 48th — The list of contenders in the race to replace the retiring Del. Bob Brink (D-48) continues to change. Peter Fallon, mentioned as a possible candidate, says he will not run. Steve Baker, who threw his hat in the ring for a few hours, is no longer running. Young Democrats of America President Atima Omara, meanwhile, is running, as is Yorktown Civic Association President Andrew Schneider. At last count, there are six Democrats and no Republicans in the race.
Endorsements in 48th District Race — Candidates for the 48th District special electoin are starting to tout high-profile local endorsements. Del. Patrick Hope and former Va. lieutenant governor candidate Aneesh Chopra have endorsed Rip Sullivan. Arlington County Board Vice Chairman Mary Hynes, Treasurer Frank O’Leary and Commonwealth’s Attorney Theo Stamos have endorsed Paul Holland. In Arlington, a firehouse Democratic primary in the race will be held on Sunday.
Hazmat Scare at TJ Middle School — There was a hazardous materials scare at Thomas Jefferson Middle School yesterday (Tuesday) afternoon. According to an Arlington fire department spokeswoman, the family of a former school employee who passed away brought a box of art supplies to the school as a donation. A school staff member sorting through the donation opened a bag, smelled a strong odor and began to feel sick. Arlington’s hazmat team arrived and determined that the bag contained a chemical used for gold plating. A cleanup crew was brought in to dispose of the chemical and the employee was transported to the hospital in stable condition.
STEM School Proposed — During a discussion about science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education, the Arlington School Board began talking about the possibility of opening a new STEM-focused middle school or high school. Such a facility could potentially compete with Fairfax County’s Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, a magnet school attended by a number of Arlington students. [InsideNova]
New Va. Laws Take Effect — A number of new laws in Virginia took effect Tuesday. Among them: the abolition of a $64 tax on hybrid vehicles, a law requiring fewer Standards of Learning tests for grades 3-8, and a law that requires motorists to maintain more space between their vehicles and bicyclists. [Reston Now]
Flickr pool photo by Alex Erkiletian
According to a spokeswoman for the Pentagon Force Protection Agency, a suspicious package was discovered in a mail facility adjacent to the Pentagon. Several workers there reported feeling dizzy after the package was opened, were told, but were later evaluated and cleared by medical personnel.
The packaged has been deemed “not a chemical or biological threat,” but is still being investigated, according to the spokeswoman. It’s unclear whether the facility was evacuated following the discovery of the suspicious package — we’re only told that “certain procedures” were followed in order to ensure the safety of the mail workers.
Authorities are trying to figure out why a box of old medical waste was left outside a hotel in Rosslyn this afternoon.
Police were first called around 3:00 p.m. to investigate a suspicious package, found next to a trash can outside Le Méridien hotel at 1121 19th Street N. Upon looking through the contents of the worn cardboard box, police discovered what was reported to be human waste.
Firefighters were then dispatched to the scene to conduct a hazardous materials investigation. They discovered sealed medical waste with labels indicating it was from 1985, according to Battalion Chief Daniel Fitch. Among the contents were blood and various needles.
“There was no leakage, no threatening note,” he said. “I guess whoever dropped it off wanted it to be someone else’s problem.”
A duty fire marshal is remaining on scene to ensure that the waste is disposed of by a qualified contractor. So far, there’s no word of any suspects or criminal charges related to the incident.
Photos by Audrey Batcheller
Update at 1:05 p.m. — The eastbound lanes of Route 50 have reopened after the earlier wreck involving a sewage tanker. According to Arlington County, the sewage that leaked from the tanker into a storm drain will enter Four Mile Run south of I-395, via the Lower Long Branch stream. Parks and streams north of I-395, including Jennie Dean Park in Shirlington and Barcroft Park, will not be impacted by the sewage spill, the county said.
Earlier: Eastbound Route 50 is closed in the area of Fillmore Street due to a serious accident involving a sewage truck.
The accident happened just before 7:00 a.m. A sedan and a sewage truck somehow collided, injuring five and causing raw sewage to leak from the truck.
There were five people inside the sedan at the time of the accident, according to Arlington County Chief Fire Marshal Daniel Fitch. Two had to be extricated by firefighters. In all, three were transported to Fairfax Inova Hospital with serious injuries, and two were transported to Virginia Hospital Center with minor injuries.
Sewage from the truck, which hauls human waste for a portable toilet company, has seeped into a storm drain, Fitch said. Hazmat crews are on scene attempting to contain the sewage.
Eastbound Route 50 will remain closed “until further notice,” Fitch said.
Additional information on Rt. 50 sewage spill. Staff from the Department of Environmental Services have determined that the waste from the spill will enter Four Mile Run South of Rt. 395 via Lower Long Branch Run and will NOT affect any of the parks,streams or Dog parks along 4 Mile Run north from Rt. 395 to Columbia Pike. Jenny Dean park and Barcroft parks will NOT be effected.
Photo (right) courtesy @CAPT258
A suspicious substance in a package caused a scare at a government facility in the 700 block of S. Courthouse Road.
A hazmat team from the Arlington County Fire Department responded to the call of a package in the mail room at the Naval Support Facility (NSF) Arlington that reportedly contained a light colored powdery or crystal-type substance. The Arlington County Police Department was also at the scene to offer support.
There was a brief, partial evacuation of the facility while investigators examined the substance. According to Arlington County Fire Department spokesman Capt. Gregg Karl, the substance has since been found to be non-hazardous and crews have cleared the scene.
According to Karl, although the substance is not hazardous, the case will be taken over by Naval Criminal Investigative Services (NCIS) for further investigation.
The HOV lanes of I-395 have been shut down due to a jackknifed tractor trailer that struck the highway wall divide.
Police have blocked traffic because the truck is leaking fuel and they fear it might ignite. The fuel is coming from a 100+ gallon saddle tank, according to scanner traffic. A hazmat team is being dispatched to the scene.
A long line of northbound traffic is now at a standstill in the HOV lanes.
Police and firefighters are again on the scene at the Pentagon City Metro station for a hazardous materials situation.
Eight bottles filled with a cloudy, yellow liquid were found on both platforms at the station, according to scanner traffic. The situation mirrors an incident on Friday when 10 bottles filled with a yellow liquid were found on the platforms.
No word yet on what the substance might be. Citing an “ongoing investigation,” Metro spokesman Dan Stessel declined to divulge details.
“I can say that the substance in the previous incident was not harmful,” he said.
So far, the station has remained open during this morning’s investigation.
Update at 10:05 a.m. — The incident has been cleared and emergency responders are leaving the scene.