(Updated at 2:55 p.m.) Cherrydale’s volunteer fire house is set to celebrate the 100th anniversary of its construction in 1919 this weekend.
The Cherrydale Volunteer Fire Department will host festivities and a fundraiser for the anniversary this Saturday (July 20) from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. The Central Firehouse, owned the Cherrydale Volunteer Fire Department, is the oldest in Arlington and recognized by the National Register of Historic Places as a local historic landmark.
A parade will kick off the Saturday celebration at 10 a.m. starting from Saint Agnes Catholic Church (1910 N. Randolph Street). The remainder of the festivities will be held at the firehouse (3900 Lee Highway). All activities are open to the public.
For kids, volunteers will set up a bouncy house and firetruck demonstrations after the parade.
Tours of the fire house and swing dance lessons will be available throughout the day, according to spokeswoman Elise Nelson. Radio station 94.7 FM The Drive will broadcast live from the event.
(Cherrydale Volunteer Fire Department members are trained as firefighters and medics. They sometimes ride along with professional crews from the Arlington County Fire Department and provide some support services to ACFD during incidents, but do not currently fight fires, according to the local firefighters union. The Cherrydale VFD disputed the assertion that its members do not fight fires, but did not directly answer a request from ARLnow to provide a recent example of a VFD member engaged in fire suppression operations alongside ACFD.)
A chili cook off, a raffle, bingo and various games will wrap-up the evening. Guests can use a donation to vote for their favorite chili, made by members of the volunteer fire department. Prizes for raffles and bingo include gift basket from 35 partnering businesses.
The celebration will take on a more serious note mid-afternoon as firefighters who served during 9/11 will share their experiences with the audience, and the organization will remember Marvin Binns, a former member of the Cherrydale VFD. A plaque will be presented and hung on the wall along with his uniform. Binns died of cancer in 2015, according to his obituary.
“His inspiring 62-year legacy included many years of leadership as President, and 36 years bringing Santa to the station — making him a cherished figure for countless generations,” Nelson said.
The Cherrydale Fire Department began with a group of 12 men after they came together to battle a small fire, according to public library records. Over time, Cherrydale VFD grew as an organization and today has 50-60 members in its ranks. Though Arlington County took over responsibility for everyday emergencies, most of the members have emergency medical technician training and can assist police or other firefighters whenever a need may arise. They also help local authorities with lighting at emergency scenes and events.
The Saturday event will double as a fundraiser and proceeds will go towards the refurbishment of the fire house. Nelson said that the building needs foundational repairs as well as cosmetic retouches.
As a historical landmark, Nelson said that the building requires special attention from an expert familiar with refurbishing old buildings, which often comes at a higher cost.
“We can’t do anything that would go against that historical precedent,” she said.
For example, to repair crumbling brickwork on the outside of the building, they were quoted a cost of $50,000.
According to the book “The Cherrydale Volunteer Fire Department: A History” by author Kathryn Holt Springston, former President Woodrow Wilson and his wife each purchased a brick for the fire house during a fundraising event when it first opened. But, Wilson’s brick was later stolen.
Today, the building serves as a center for the Cherrydale Volunteer Fire Department and as a gathering space for community members. There is a gathering hall which is available to rent for weddings, banquets, parties or other events.
Nelson said that the group hopes to raise $100,000 in 2019 to keep the Cherrydale fire house running for at least another century.
Photos courtesy of Cherrydale Volunteer Fire Department
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Fire Victim Identified — The person killed in an apartment fire in the Ashton Heights neighborhood last week “has been identified as Brian Green, 50, of Arlington. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.” [Arlington County]
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Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley
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Photo courtesy @eugeneksoh
(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.
— Hieu Nguyen (@HieuN78) April 17, 2019
— Danyele (@iamdanyele) April 17, 2019
— Arlington Fire (@ArlingtonVaFD) April 17, 2019
#FinalUpdate: All units from ACFD @AlexandriaVAFD @FortMyerFire and #MWAAFRD picking up & going in service. @RedCrossNCR has been requested for residents of both homes. No injuries reported. All lanes of S Four Mile Run open. Fire Marshals on scene investigating. pic.twitter.com/nOFAg8rMjN
— Arlington Fire (@ArlingtonVaFD) April 17, 2019
Firefighters extinguished a garage fire that spread to an adjacent house in the Arlington Mill neighborhood Sunday afternoon.
The fire broke out around 2:30 p.m. on the 5600 block of 7th Place S. Photos from the scene, below, show significant flames and smoke visible from the street.
The fire was reported out around 3 p.m. and there were no injuries, according to the Arlington County Fire Department. Fire marshals are now investigating the cause of the blaze.
— Wilson Roa (@WilsonRoaPhoto) March 17, 2019
#Breaking: Units on scene 5600 block of 7th Pl S with working fire in garage of single family home with extension to adjacent structure. Units putting water on the fire and conducting searches. pic.twitter.com/smDye0pMJb
— Arlington Fire (@ArlingtonVaFD) March 17, 2019
Fire in both structures is out. All searches are negative. Units finishing overhaul & ventilation of structures & starting to clean up. No injuries. Fire Marshals investigating. Expect congestion in the area for at least another 30-45 minutes. pic.twitter.com/NGeTJE7exZ
— Arlington Fire (@ArlingtonVaFD) March 17, 2019
Map via Google Maps
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Flickr pool photo by Rex Block
Arlington firefighters extinguished a blaze at a home under construction in a neighborhood near Ballston early this morning.
First responders were called to the 4600 block of 13th Street N., in the Waycroft-Woodlawn neighborhood, around 1 a.m. today (Tuesday).
The fire broke out the basement of a two-story house that was currently being worked on, according to the county fire department’s Twitter account. The flames and smoke were so heavy that firefighters had to battle much of the inferno from outside the home.
— Arlington Fire (@ArlingtonVaFD) February 12, 2019
No one was inside the home when the fire started and no injuries were reported. Fire marshals are still investigating what sparked the blaze.
Nawal Rajeh was doing some housework and listening to an audiobook in the moments before her life turned upside down.
Rajeh’s home, a small duplex on N. Garfield Street in Lyon Park, caught fire back on Jan. 3, forcing her to jump from her second-story apartment to evade the blaze.
She was left in tattered clothes, sitting on the street in the harsh cold. But Rajeh was soon moved by the kindness of her neighbors, who rushed to her aid to give her clothes and comfort while first responders arrived, even though they’d never met.
Now, about a month later, she’s hoping to thank them for their generosity, in part by sharing her story from that harrowing day.
“It was just shocking the way people jumped in and helped in an emergency like that,” Rajeh told ARLnow. “I’m really glad I lived in that neighborhood.”
Rajeh moved into the apartment just last September, as she pursues a doctorate in conflict resolution at George Mason University’s Virginia Square campus.
She had just returned home from visiting family in Ohio for the holidays the night before the fire broke out, and only just started her day with some house cleaning when she says heard “a loud crashing sound coming from the basement.”
At first, Rajeh didn’t think much of the noise. But she grew increasingly concerned when she heard her downstairs neighbor’s dog, named Bling, begin barking.
“He’s such a quiet dog normally, it seemed odd,” Rajeh said.
The building’s fire alarm then began sounding, prompting Rajeh to throw open the front door of her apartment.
“The entire stairwell was this thick, black tornado of smoke barreling in, I couldn’t see anything,” Rajeh said. “So I shut the door, I knew there was no way I could go down those stairs.”
Accordingly, she ran back to her bedroom, kicked out the screen to her window and decided to hang on the ledge until someone could help her down. Rajeh began screaming for help, but no one noticed her — the window was located on the side of the building, away from the street.
“I knew I could hang there for a while, I go to climbing gyms a lot,” Rajeh said. “But I couldn’t keep inhaling the smoke much longer.”
So she made the difficult decision to let go, plummeting into a bush below her window.
Luckily, Rajeh didn’t break any bones during the fall, though she did suffer some injuries from landing on the bush. She says firefighters later told her she managed a “very athletic jump,” given the circumstances.
Rajeh hobbled her way to the street, where a crowd of onlookers had gathered. Some were daycare workers who had been walking past the duplex and noticed the fire; others simply lived nearby and had called 911.
“I was wearing leggings when I jumped, and those were completely ruined,” Rajeh said. “I didn’t have any shoes on or anything… but people went up into their houses, brought me socks and shoes and a jacket.”
She says first responders arrived soon afterward, and she urged them to get inside the building and rescue Bling, the only other occupant of the duplex when the fire broke out. He inhaled a bit of smoke, but Rajeh says he’s since recovered well and is “back home, with an appetite again.”
Rajeh still isn’t sure what caused the fire — county fire department spokesman Ben O’Bryant says fire marshals determined “that the fire started in a mechanical room in the basement, but weren’t able to tell if it started in the HVAC unit or hot water heater.”
She’s since moved into another vacant property owned by her landlord elsewhere in Arlington, but lost most of her belongings in the fire. She says just about everything in the apartment was either burned to a crisp or “reeked of smoke” and was beyond saving.
But she says the local chapter of the American Red Cross has helped out with some essentials, and her wounds have mostly healed.
Some of her neighbors are now planning to bring Bling by the local fire station so he can properly thank his rescuers, and Rajeh hopes to deliver her own expressions of gratitude to her neighbors who helped her when she was in need.
She doesn’t know all of their names, but she hopes to swing by her old neighborhood to offer her thanks all the same.
“It’s just the kind of thing you don’t expect from city living, but there were a lot of caring people I’d never met before,” Rajeh said.
(Updated at 3:10 p.m.) Firefighters from Arlington and Alexandria extinguished a house fire in Arlington’s Nauck neighborhood today (Wednesday).
The fire broke out in a two-story duplex on the 3700 block of S. Four Mile Run Drive — a narrow residential street that runs parallel to the main route — around 1 p.m. Arriving firefighters reported smoke coming from the front door and the occupants of the home standing outside.
As of 1:30 p.m. the fire was said to be under control, though possible hoarding conditions complicated the firefighting operation.
The fire department said medics assessed one person who was inside the home at the time of the fire for injuries.
#FinalUpdate: Fire Marshals on scene investigating. Crews are going in service. Units will be on scene for some time picking up equipment. If you’re in the area watch out for ice and slick spots. Thanks @AlexandriaVAFD for the help. pic.twitter.com/NawAii7GLU
— Arlington Fire (@ArlingtonVaFD) January 30, 2019
Photo via ACFD Instagram
(Updated at 9 p.m.) Arlington County firefighters are on the scene of a house fire on Little Falls Road in North Arlington.
The fire was reported around 7 p.m. in the basement of a home on the 5700 block of Little Falls Road, roughly between Nottingham Elementary and Yorktown High School.
A second contingent of fire department units was quickly dispatched to the scene to help with the firefighting effort. A partial floor collapse was reported inside the home, though no injuries have been reported.
No one was inside the home when the fire broke out, according to ACFD.
— Arlington Fire (@ArlingtonVaFD) January 23, 2019
#FinalUpdate: Fire is out. Ventilation complete. No civilian or FF injuries. No one home at the time of the fire. Fire Marshals on scene investigating. Continue to avoid the area as units pick up equipment. pic.twitter.com/rdpSuOPjJM
— Arlington Fire (@ArlingtonVaFD) January 23, 2019
Map via Google Maps