Arlington, VA

An under-construction home caught fire this morning, prompting an emergency response that closed part of N. Glebe Road during the morning rush hour.

Video from the scene shows smoke coming from the top of the home, at the intersection of Glebe and 33rd Street N., just north of Washington Golf and Country Club.

The fire, which was first reported just before 7 a.m., has since been extinguished. No visible signs of fire damage can be seen on the front of the home.

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(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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Morning Notes

Police Nab Sex Assault Suspect — “Following a tip from a member of the public, the suspect has been identified as Wondimagegn Azemach, 19, of Riverdale, Maryland. He has been charged with Abduction with Intent to Defile and Sexual Battery.” [Arlington County]

Fire at Ambar in Clarendon — A small fire temporarily closed Ambar restaurant in Clarendon during prime brunching time on Saturday. [Twitter, Twitter]

Board Approves Va. Square Development — “The Arlington County Board today approved a plan to replace aging commercial buildings on the northwest corner of Washington Boulevard and Kirkwood Road, in the Ballston-Virginia Square neighborhood, with a seven-story apartment building that will include 16 affordable units and achieve LEED Silver energy efficiency.” [Arlington County]

GW Parkway Sinkhole Work Continues — “The repairs to a crumbling section of the George Washington Parkway between Turkey Run Park and the Capital Beltway are now expected to continue through most of the summer. The long-term repairs to a failed drainage inlet will keep at least one right lane on the parkway closed for 10 weeks once the contractor is ready for work, the National Park Service said Friday. Engineers have determined that a 60 year old brick drainage structure buried deep under the parkway needs to be replaced.” [WTOP, Press Release]

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]

Football Team Joins Arlington Chamber — “Welcome new member @Redskins! We are thrilled to have you as part of our membership at the Arlington Chamber of Commerce.” [Twitter]

County Kicks Off Census Effort — Arlington County and its Complete Count Committee (CCC) are gearing up for the 2020 Census – working toward the goal of counting every Arlingtonian… It’s not too early to get acquainted with the Census and what to expect next year.” [Arlington County]

Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley

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Morning Notes

Busy Weekend for Fire Department — The Arlington County Fire Department helped to rescue a person trapped in an overturned SUV on northbound I-395 at Glebe Road Saturday evening and battled an attic fire in the Arlington Forest neighborhood early Sunday morning. [Twitter, Twitter]

Arlington’s Top Bond Rating Reaffirmed — “For the 19th year in a row, all three credit ratings agencies have reaffirmed Arlington County’s debt ratings of Aaa/AAA/AAA — the highest rating. Arlington is one of just 48 counties in the United States, and nine in Virginia, to receive the highest rating from all three credit agencies for its bonds.” [Arlington County, Fitch Ratings]

Amazon Makes Va. Political Contributions — “Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN), with leases for its second headquarters in Arlington signed and hiring underway, is ramping up its political contributions in Virginia, weeks ahead of a key state primary.” [Washington Business Journal]

GGW Endorses Challenger in Prosecutor Race — “The two-term incumbent, Theo Stamos, is being challenged by a political newcomer, Parisa Dehghani-Tafti. Greater Greater Washington’s volunteer Elections Committee considered the positions of these two qualified candidates, and we endorse Dehghani-Tafti.” [Greater Greater Washington]

Food Truck Nights in Ballston — “Local food trucks will be parked in front of Randolph Towers on the first Wednesday of the month from June to August. On June 5th, stop by for a taste of Maine from Red Hook Lobster Pound and comfort food favorites by Dogs on the Curb!” [Ballston BID]

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Morning Notes

Arlington County Suing Opioid Makers — “The Arlington County Board has emulated nearly two dozen other Virginia localities in taking to court a large number of opioid manufacturers, distributors and retailers, including some of the biggest names in the health-care industry.” [InsideNova]

HQ2 Affordable Housing Funds Going to Loudoun? — “When Virginia officials promised $75 million over five years for affordable housing in the wake of Amazon.com Inc.’s second headquarters announcement, Arlington officials assumed that those dollars would be split between the county and neighboring Alexandria. They were not thrilled to find out other localities might get a piece.” [Washington Business Journal]

Pedestrian Struck in CVS Parking Lot — “Police and medics are on scene of an elderly pedestrian struck by a car in the CVS parking lot on the 6400 block of Williamsburg Blvd. The victim reportedly suffered a broken bone and is being transported to the hospital.” [Twitter]

Early Video of Nauck House Fire — Video posted to Facebook shows the scene as firefighters start to arrive at yesterday’s house fire in the Nauck neighborhood, near the W&OD Trail. [Statter 911]

Discussing Nightlife Safety — “‘A Conversation about Nightlife Safety’ will take place on Wednesday, May 1, 2019 from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m… The event will feature panelists from various Arlington County departments speaking about how they collaborated to build trusting relationships with restaurant staff and improve safety.” [Arlington County]

What’s in a Name? — At the Pentagon City mall, Panda Tea House is now bustling where Kokee Tea struggled last year. Was it the name change, or the addition of Thai rolled ice cream to the menu? [Twitter]

Photo courtesy @eugeneksoh

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(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.

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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.

Map via Google Maps

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Morning Notes

Residents Support HQ2 in Letters — “Many Arlingtonians want Amazon.com Inc. to set up HQ2 in Crystal City and Pentagon City — or at least that is what a slew of letters and emails to the [Arlington County Board] seems to indicate… ‘I would say the theme of the emails is: ‘Don’t blow it,” [Libby] Garvey said.” [Washington Business Journal]

Expect Fireworks at County Board Meeting — “Board Chair Christian Dorsey (D) said he has ‘no interest’ in postponing [this weekend’s Amazon] vote and has heard no suggestions to do so from other board members. He expects the measure to pass, but he also said anywhere from 100 to 400 speakers could show up for the public hearing before the vote.” [Washington Post]

More on Expected HQ2 Jobs — “While Amazon has said about half of the 25,000 HQ2 jobs here will be tech-related, we now know a bit more about the breakdown, thanks to a Thursday talk by Ardine Williams, vice president of people operations for the company, to high schoolers.” [Washington Business Journal]

Extended Comcast Outage — Much of Arlington lost its Comcast cable and internet service for several hours Sunday. [Twitter]

More Trouble for Trustify — “Real estate investment trust JBG Smith Properties Inc. is heading to court to try to collect on a $263,477.21 judgment against one of its tenants, private investigation startup Trustify. The Chevy Chase developer won an ‘unlawful detainer’ judgment against the company Jan. 31, allowing it to evict Trustify from its main office at 200 12th St. South in Crystal City.” [Washington Business Journal]

ACFD Helped Battle McLean Fire — Arlington County firefighters helped to extinguish a house fire in McLean over the weekend. One resident died in the blaze. [Tysons Reporter]

Flickr pool photo by Rex Block

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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.

No one was inside the home when the fire started and no injuries were reported. Fire marshals are still investigating what sparked the blaze.

Photo 1 via @ArlingtonVaFD Instagram, photos 2 and 3 via @ArlingtonVaFD Twitter

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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.

Photos 1, 2 and 3 via @ArlingtonVAFD, headshot courtesy of Nawal Rajeh

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(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.

Photo via ACFD Instagram

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