Arlington County firefighters rescued a person from underneath a Metro train last night (Thursday) in Crystal City.
Arlington County Fire Department units were dispatched to the Crystal City Metro station (1750 S. Clark Street) at 8:25 p.m. for a report of an individual struck by a train, per a press release today. They found the person under a train, “conscious and alert.”
“Crews immediately began rescue operations, sending personnel onto the track bed and underneath the train to safely remove the patient,” per the release. “The patient was successfully extricated from beneath the train just before 9 p.m. and loaded onto an awaiting ambulance.”
RELEASE: Arlington County Fire Department Rescues Individual Struck by Trainhttps://t.co/xdeebBkM9W pic.twitter.com/IeuPBNK3uK
— Arlington Fire & EMS (@ArlingtonVaFD) March 10, 2023
The person was taken to an area hospital in critical condition, according to ACFD.
“Rescue operations like the one our crews faced on March 9 can be extremely challenging,” Arlington County Fire Chief David Povlitz said in a statement. “I am extremely proud of our responders and WMATA safety partners for their ability to perform such a technical operation safely, proficiently, and quickly.”
Asked about the current condition of the person who was struck, a spokesman said the fire department typically does not do any immediate follow up once someone gets to the hospital.
Metro suspended service between the Reagan National Airport and Pentagon City stations in response to the incident and requested shuttle buses to accommodate passengers, according to a tweet published around 8:4o p.m. last night.
The ACFD is assisting @wmata with an incident at the Crystal City station. https://t.co/JoZp9JmFwL pic.twitter.com/DCC4i3aVan
— Arlington Fire & EMS (@ArlingtonVaFD) March 10, 2023
Two hours later, Metro announced that Blue and Yellow line service had resumed.
UPDATED: Blue Line Alert: Train service restored btwn National Airport & Pentagon City following a person struck by a train at Crystal City. Expect residual delays.
— Metrorail Info (@Metrorailinfo) March 10, 2023
(Updated at 8:45 a.m.) The Clarendon Metro station filled with smoke during this morning’s commute, prompting a large fire department and police response.
The initial dispatch went out around 8:15 a.m., for smoke in the station. The station was evacuated and trains were halted in the area.
Metro described the issue as “a track problem.” As of 8:30 a.m., reports suggest that the smoke is dissipating, no fire has been found so far, and the response is about to be scaled back.
Metro riders were told to expect significant delays in both directions of the Orange and Silver lines. As of 8:45 a.m., nothing hazardous had been found and trains were starting to resume normal operations. It’s still unclear what caused the smoke.
Orange/Silver Line Delay: Expect delays in both directions due to a track problem at Clarendon.
— Metrorail Info (@Metrorailinfo) March 7, 2023
UPDATED: Orange/Silver Line Delay: Train service suspended between Ballston & Rosslyn due to fire department activity at Clarendon. Buses requested.
— Metrorail Info (@Metrorailinfo) March 7, 2023
@ARLnowDOTcom something going on at Clarendon metro. Tons of fire and rescue
— HawkeyeKevin (@HawkeyeKevin) March 7, 2023
#WMATA investigating smoke reported in the Metro tunnel near Clarendon Metro station in the direction of Courthouse station. @ARLnowDOTcom pic.twitter.com/Nl6HLt4DuV
— Alan Henney (@alanhenney) March 7, 2023
A hazardous materials situation at the Ballston Metro station over the summer likely exposed riders to toxic gas from batteries.
That’s according to a report at this afternoon’s Washington Metrorail Safety Commission meeting.
As detailed in WMSC’s Twitter thread, the incident happened the evening of Thursday, Aug. 11 and involved old backup batteries in the station’s Train Control Room that were boiling over due to improper charging. On top of that, gas was released into the station because of a faulty ventilation system, according to WMSC.
A fire alarm went off after gas was detected coming from the room, prompting an evacuation and a fire department response that was later upgraded to a full hazmat response. But at least one train stopped at the station and let out riders during that time, exposing them to the toxic gas, WMSC said.
The hazmat response was noted on social media by at least two local journalists, but did not otherwise get much attention at the time.
Radio traffic indicates trains bypassing Ballston Metro as @ArlingtonVaFD handles a hazardous materials incident involving batteries. #wmata #metro
— Dave Statter (@STATter911) August 12, 2022
Metro personnel and the fire department responded to the Ballston Station due to a battery fluid spill in an adjacent room. Trains are bypassing the station as a precaution while the spill is cleaned. Shuttle bus service is being provided. #WMATA
— Allison Papson (@AllisonPapson) August 12, 2022
Following the incident, Metro “developed a number of corrective actions to address issues identified during this investigation,” according to WMSC’s thread, which is compiled below.
The first report today, W-0189, relates to an evacuation for life safety reasons at Ballston Station on August 11.
On August 11, 2022, toxic gas from overheated Metrorail batteries filled part of the Ballston Station. These batteries support the uninterruptible power supply – or UPS – for the station’s Train Control Room.
The Arlington County Fire Department determined that a fire alarm was due to gas coming from the battery room at the southeast end of the station.
The Metrorail personnel involved in the response did not know about the battery safety switch outside the room that can be used to cut power.
After forcing entry into the room, Arlington County Fire upgraded the response to a hazmat response. This was 47 minutes after the initial alarm.
At that point, responders communicated that trains should bypass the station and riders should be evacuated for their safety.
During the time the station was evacuated and closed to riders for their safety, one train stopped at and serviced the station, placing riders in hazardous conditions.
n addition, Metrorail did not follow its emergency response processes. This includes the incident command process. Information was also not consistently and clearly shared.
Rail Controllers made general announcements on the Ops 4 channel for some trains to turn off environmental systems when bypassing Ballston Station. No similar announcements regarding the environmental systems or bypassing Ballston Station were made on the Ops 2 channel.
Train Operator who serviced Ballston Station during the evacuation was in the Ops 2 radio territory when the announcements were made on Ops 4 The Ops 2 Rail Controller made an announcement on their channel only after the Train Operator serviced the station during the evacuation.
The investigation shows that Metrorail had kept the UPS in service beyond the end of its useful life, allowing it to run to failure.
The battery charger was not working properly. This led to excess energy being fed into the batteries. In addition – the ventilation unit in the room was not operating correctly, and the separate exhaust fan was also not working.
The batteries overheated. System data indicates the toxic gas release began approximately 15 hours after the improper charging began. The acid in each battery began to boil.
The WMSC had raised similar ancillary room maintenance concerns to Metrorail in the spring, and further documented these issues in our August 4, 2022 Train Control Room order, the week prior to this event.
Metrorail had committed in the spring to special inspections of ancillary rooms for these types of ventilation system deficiencies, but had not continued those inspections until after the WMSC’s order.
Metrorail opened the battery disconnect to separate the batteries from the UPS at about 12:30 a.m. The battery bank later cooled down and stopped emitting the toxic gas.
The power cutoff was delayed due to unclear labelling of cutoffs and insufficient training and communication of actions to take in emergencies related to battery-supplied systems.
Metrorail developed a number of corrective actions to address issues identified during this investigation. In addition Metrorail is implementing CAPs tied to the Emergency Management and Fire and Life Safety Programs Audit, August 4 order, and other related findings.
Update at 2:55 p.m. — Metro is single-tracking past the station and expected to resume normal service soon, with fire department units clearing from the scene.
Blue Line service has been suspended at Pentagon City due to a small fire producing smoky conditions at the station.
Arlington County firefighters are on scene. The fire — reportedly caused by trash catching on fire behind a wall — is reported to be out but there’s still residual smoke in the tunnels.
The fire department activity is also said to be affecting traffic in the area.
Final: Fire is out, @wmata has been informed they can resume normal operations at Pentagon City Metro. 0 injuries to civilians or first responders.
— Arlington Fire & EMS (@ArlingtonVaFD) November 29, 2022
Crews are operating at the scene of a small fire at the Pentagon City Metro. Expect traffic impacts in the area of S. Hayes St between Army Navy Dr and 15th St. S and please avoid the area. pic.twitter.com/jqZPymVhxK
— Arlington Fire & EMS (@ArlingtonVaFD) November 29, 2022
Blue Line Delay: Train service suspended btwn Natl Airport & Arlington Cemetery due to fire department activity at Pentagon City. Shuttle buses requested.
— Metrorail Info (@Metrorailinfo) November 29, 2022
NEW; Smoke inside Pentagon City Metro on platform and mezzanine. @ArlingtonVaFD on scene. All trains reported stopped (also requested by command). Expect delays. More to follow. #wmata @ARLnowDOTcom @MetroReasons
— Dave Statter (@STATter911) November 29, 2022
Expect to see lots of emergency activity around the Pentagon this weekend. But don’t worry, it’s just a drill.
The emergency response training exercise is scheduled to take place from 6 a.m.-1 p.m. on Saturday and will include first responders from a number of jurisdictions.
“Expect flashing lights/sirens near the Pentagon Transit Center,” Pentagon police said on Twitter.
EXERCISE-EXERCISE-EXERCISE. @PFPAOffical & First Responders will hold emergency response training exercise Saturday, Sept. 24, 6 a.m. – 1 p.m. Expect flashing lights/sirens near the Pentagon Transit Center. Training closed to public/ media. pic.twitter.com/6yzJKb0uK5
— Pentagon Force Protection Agency (Official) (@PFPAOfficial) September 21, 2022
The Pentagon Metro station will be closed until around 2 p.m. as a result of the exercise. Buses going to or from the Pentagon will be relocated to the Crystal City and Pentagon City stations.
More from a WMATA press release:
On Saturday, September 24, Metro will temporarily close the Pentagon Station to bus and rail service from opening until approximately 2 p.m. due to a security exercise at the request of the Pentagon. During this time, people in the area may notice a large amount of emergency personnel; however, customers should be aware this is only an exercise.
During the temporary station closure, Metrobus service that normally serves the Pentagon Transit Center will instead be relocated to Pentagon City. Express shuttle buses operating to/from Huntington and Franconia-Springfield to Pentagon due to major construction on the Blue and Yellow lines will be diverted to Crystal City where customers can transfer to/from the rail system.
While Pentagon Station is closed, Blue Line trains will bypass the station, passing through without stopping. Customers may wish to use Pentagon City Station as an alternative.
Bus and rail service will resume to the Pentagon at approximately 2 p.m. at the conclusion of the exercise. Metro will notify customers through our social media channels @MetrobusInfo @MetrorailInfo, online on the Status and Alerts page, and through MetroAlerts text and email messages. Customers are encouraged to sign up for MetroAlerts to be notified about the latest service information.
Metro’s customers service team will also be available to assist customers from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. to provide real-time information online or by phone. Metro’s customer service team responds to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram social posts, emails and chat conversations. Customers may also get information by calling 202-637-7000 or visiting wmata.com.
An end date is in sight for construction work around the Ballston Metro station.
After two years of navigating the active work site and catching the bus from temporarily relocated stops, transit riders could have access to the updated transit facilities and adjacent public areas sometime next month.
“Right now we have our sights on completion in late October,” said Dept. of Environmental Services spokeswoman Claudia Pors.
Over the course of four phases, Arlington County aimed to improve the experience of waiting for a bus, getting dropped off by a car, and walking and cycling around the transit hub. The project added:
- New bus shelters, sidewalks, landscaped planters and benches
- More bike parking
- An expanded public space along Fairfax Drive
- A dedicated “kiss-and-ride” curb space
- A dedicated shuttle bus curb space and bus shelter
- Bus stop flag poles
- Real-time bus information displays
Construction on the four-phase project started in June 2020 and was expected to end in November 2021. But a half dozen “unforeseen conditions” came up during construction, delaying completion by nearly a year, according to a county report.
Before it can sign off on the project, the county says the following three intersections need to be repaved “due to design changes and unforeseen utility work,” per the report.
- Fairfax Drive and N. Stuart Street
- Fairfax Drive and N. Stafford Street
- 9th Street N. and N. Stuart Street
This will cost about $249,000, bringing the total cost of the project to around $5.7 million. The Arlington County Board is set to review a request to authorize this additional spending during its meeting on Saturday.
Contingency funding approved in the initial budget covered the cost of the other surprises. Staff said electric and telecom lines along Fairfax Drive had to be relocated and it took longer than expected to get Dominion Energy to remove existing street light poles.
The underground Metro platform and garages were also closer to the surface than staff initially estimated. To avoid hitting these structures, construction plans had to be updated and one planter had to be redesigned.
Other planters had to be remade because of how the site slopes, while additional pre-made planters had to be purchased because original estimates fell short.
A curb along N. Stafford Street needed to be realigned and a bus landing rebuilt to ensure getting on and off the bus was safe and accessible to people with disabilities.
Pors said county staff are looking forward to wrapping up.
“Obviously, we’re very excited for the completion of this project,” Pors said.
The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) has also finalized where buses will depart from. The listed changes are set to go into effect this Sunday, Sept. 18:
1A to Vienna: Bay F
1B to Dunn Loring: Bay F
2A to Dunn Loring: Bay C
10B to Hunting Point: Bay G
22A to Pentagon: Bay G
23A, 23B, 23T to Shirlington/Crystal City: Bay H
23A, 23T to Tysons: Bay A
25B to Southern Towers/Mark Center: Bay D
38B to Farragut Square: Bay B
Meanwhile, the county is currently working to design proposed west entrance to the Ballston Metro station, located at N. Fairfax Drive and N. Vermont Street, almost a quarter of a mile west of the existing entrance.
Arlington has sought alternative funding sources to cover the ballooning cost of the project, which it attributes to inflation and having more complete designs.
Some transit advocates have argued that funding for the section entrance should be redirected to cheaper upgrades with greater impact, such as sidewalks, protected bike lanes and dedicated bus lanes.
Issues at Court House Station — Noted in a new Washington Metrorail Safety Commission report on the maintenance, cleaning and inspections of automatic train control systems: “For example, at Court House Station on the Orange and Silver Lines, a technician noted racks that were dusty and covered with black soot and noted that an electronic-friendly vacuum cleaner was required for proper cleaning, but no work order was opened. The records also showed missing manuals and reference documents, but no work order was opened.” [WMSC]
Anniversary of Pentagon Officer’s LODD — “Pentagon Police Cpl. George Gonzalez died in the line of duty one year ago today. At the Training Range named for him, members of his Pentagon Force Protection Agency platoon honored Gonzalez again on Tuesday.” [WJLA]
School Board Race Fundraising — “For the period through June 30, independent James ‘Vell’ Rives IV outraised Democratic endorsee Bethany Sutton by $14,286 to $13,132, according to figures from the Virginia Department of Elections. But from those figures you have to subtract the $7,000 loan that Rives gave his campaign, and also chop off a couple of thousand dropped in by Sutton family members to hers, when parsing the data.” [Sun Gazette]
Light Pole Knocked Down on the Pike — “Scanner: Columbia Pike temporary shut down at S. Wakefield Street after a vehicle ran into a county light pole, knocking it down. Driver reported to be injured, but not seriously.” [Twitter]
It’s Friday — After a stormy Thursday night comes another hot day with rain and strong storms in the evening and overnight. High of 91 and low of 76. Sunrise at 6:15 am and sunset at 8:17 pm. [Weather.gov]
Baseball Tourney in Arlington — “One area’s loss became another’s big gain in recent days when Arlington County was added as an emergency replacement site for this month’s American Legion state-baseball tournament. The eight-team competition, which will include local District 17’s Arlington Post 139 as the host team, will take place July 26-30 at the Barcroft Park and Wakefield High School fields.” [Sun Gazette]
Grant for Second Ballston Metro Entrance — From the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission: “[Arlington County] received $4.5M from I-66 Commuter Choice to construct a second entrance at Ballston-MU Station that will improve access to transit and support continued redevelopment in the area.” [Twitter]
More Whinos on the Way? — “Whino is a 6,300-square-foot bar, restaurant, art gallery and entertainment venue on the second floor of Brookfield Properties’ Ballston Quarter. While it’s only a year old, founder Shane Pomajambo has big expansion plans for his budding brand.” [Washington Business Journal]
Honor for Local Catholic Newspaper — “The Catholic Herald was named the best diocesan newspaper in its class — one of 36 awards received at the annual Catholic Media Association conference in Portland July 4-7.” [Arlington Catholic Herald]
Today in Dubious Data — “A new survey suggests that Virginia residents have a clear preference for their milkshakes. Chocolate? Nope. Vanilla? Negative. Strawberry? Sorry, Charlie. According to a statistical analysis of Google search data, Virginians are most enraptured by peppermint milkshakes, according to new data from RTA Outdoor Living.” [Sun Gazette]
It’s Monday — Clear throughout the day. High of 82 and low of 65. Sunrise at 5:54 am and sunset at 8:36 pm. [Weather.gov]
Arlington Rents Continue to Rise — “Apartment rents in Arlington keep on moving upward, maintaining their position as most expensive in the D.C. area and are now well above pre-pandemic rates, according to new data. With a median rental of $2,063 for a one-bedroom unit and $2,469 for two bedrooms, Arlington’s rental rate grew a whopping 2.8 percent from May to June, the sixth highest increase among the nation’s 100 largest urban areas.” [Sun Gazette]
Local Group Donating Thousands of Socks — “The Nursing Professional Development Council at VHC Health decided to have a ‘Sock Hop’ – not a dance party but a sock collection benefiting ‘Doorways,’ an Arlington non-profit helping people out of homelessness, domestic violence and sexual assault. The goal was set at 1,940 pairs – 1940 was the year the Sock Hop started but the generous nurses and staff at VHC Health tripled that number. It’s the biggest sock donation the group has ever received.” [WJLA]
Dems Resuming Breakfasts — “In another sign that life is getting back to normal(ish) – or at least adopting a ‘live with COVID’ practicality – the Arlington County Democratic Committee is resurrecting its monthly in-person breakfasts. The return engagement – the first since early 2020 – will be held on Saturday, July 9 at 8:30 a.m. at Busboys & Poets in Shirlington. Del. Patrick Hope (D-Arlington) and others will discuss gun issues.” [Sun Gazette]
Cleanup Event Saturday Morning — “WalkArlington & BikeArlington partner to clean up a part of the W&OD Trail on Saturday, July 9. We will make our way down the W&OD, starting near the Barcroft Community Center, setting up our tent on the W&OD Trail at the intersection of a small road named ‘Barcroft Center’ and Four Mile Run Drive. We will pick up trash that accumulates alongside the trail. We will provide trash bags, gloves, trash pickers, drinks and some snacks. We will also have Bike and Walk giveaways.” [WalkArlington]
Metro Seeking Feedback on EFC Project — “Metro is seeking public input on the proposed bus loop expansion and pedestrian improvements at East Falls Church Station. The station currently has four bus bays that are operating at maximum capacity. In coordination with Metro, Arlington County seeks to expand the footprint of the existing bus loop, upgrade the existing bus shelters, and add three bus bays with shelters at the station.” [WMATA]
Flood Watch This Afternoon — “Multiple rounds of scattered to numerous showers and thunderstorms are likely this afternoon and tonight. The most likely time period for thunderstorms producing heavy rain and potential flash flooding is this evening, but thunderstorms could develop as early as this afternoon, and may linger well into the night. Several inches of rain is possible in a short period of time, which would cause rapid rises of water.” [National Weather Service]
It’s Wednesday — Heavy rain starting in the afternoon. High of 86 and low of 78. Sunrise at 5:51 am and sunset at 8:38 pm. [Weather.gov]
New Interim Economic Development Chief — “Today, I am pleased to appoint Shannon Flanagan-Watson as the Interim Director of Arlington Economic Development (AED), effective May 31. Shannon brings 28 years of combined experience working in and with local governments on a range of professional local government management and policy issues.” [Arlington County]
Shot Fired in Long Branch Creek — “1400 block of 28th Street S. At approximately 1:09 a.m. on May 5th, police were dispatched to multiple reports of shots heard in the area. Police canvassed the area and recovered evidence confirming a shot had been fired. The preliminary investigation indicates a verbal altercation between two subjects may have preceded the discharge of a firearm. No injuries were reported, and no property damage was located.” [APCD]
Netherlands Carillon Dedication — “Today, the National Park Service and Netherlands Embassy celebrated the 77th anniversary of Liberation Day and the end of a four-year restoration of the Netherlands Carillon. This celebration included remarks from Ambassador of Ukraine to the United States Oksana Markarova, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands André Haspels and National Park Service Director Charles F. ‘Chuck’ Sams III.” [Press Release, NBC 4]
More Funding for Metro Entrance? — “Additional financial support for Arlington County’s proposed west entrance to the Ballston-MU Metro station looks to be on the horizon. A recommendation from staff at the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission puts the request for an additional $4.5 million near the top of the list for regional projects that would be part of fiscal 2023-24 funding through the ‘I-66 Commuter Choice’ program.” [Sun Gazette]
Trying Out the Upton Hill Ropes Course — “Waiting in line to jump from the 50-foot apex of Climb UPton, Northern Virginia’s new ropes course, and trying desperately not to look down, I overhear three 10-year-old girls in front of me. ‘Are you scared?’ one asks… The $1.3 million ropes course opened last summer in Upton Hill Regional Park and is run by NOVA Parks. I recently attempted it on a sunny spring Saturday.” [Northern Virginia Magazine]
Reminder: Malibu Barbie Truck’s Visit — “On Saturday, May 7, the ‘Barbie Truck Totally Throwback Malibu Tour’ is planning on setting up shop at Westpost (formerly Pentagon Row) in the courtyard near DSW shoe store. The truck will be selling ‘retro-inspired’ Barbie merchandise — like Barbie logo embroidered denim jackets and Malibu Barbie necklaces — from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.” [ARLnow]
It’s Friday — Rain throughout the day. High of 65 and low of 58. Sunrise at 6:06 am and sunset at 8:07 pm. [Weather.gov]
Another Vehicle Larceny Series — “28th Street S. at 26th Street S./28th Street S. at S. Lang Street. At approximately 9:05 a.m. on April 25, police were dispatched to multiple reports of destruction of property. During the course of the investigation, it was determined that the unknown suspect(s) broke the windows to five vehicles and rummaged through them. One victim reported having electronics stolen from their vehicle. There is no suspect(s) description.” [ACPD]
Update on Route 1 ‘Urban Boulevard’ Plan — “The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) will hold a virtual public information meeting Thursday, April 28 on a feasibility study identifying enhanced multimodal connectivity and accommodations along Route 1 (Richmond Highway) from 12th Street South to 23rd Street South to meet the changing transportation needs of the Crystal City and Pentagon City communities.” [VDOT]
More Wins for Yorktown Lax — “The defending state champion Yorktown High School boys lacrosse team improved to 7-2 with blowout victories over Herndon, 15-2, and Dominion, 17-5, for seven straight victories.” [Sun Gazette]
Regional Grant for Ballston Metro Entrance? — From Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services: “A new west entrance to the Ballston-MU Metrorail station is in the running. Let these fine folks know why their greenbacks would be well spent.” [Twitter, N. Va. Transportation Authority]
‘Empty the Shelters’ Event Next Week — “The Animal Welfare League of Arlington is participating in the Bissell Pet Foundation’s spring “Empty the Shelters” animal adoption event next week from May 2-8. More than 275 shelters in 45 states and Canada are participating in the week-long event. The Bissell Pet Foundation sponsors reduced adoption fees for $25 or less.” [Patch]
Warner Weighs in on Musk Buying Twitter — From Sen. Mark Warner: “Elon Musk must work in good faith to preserve Twitter’s necessary reforms to prevent the spread of misinformation.” [Twitter]
It’s Wednesday — Mostly sunny, with a few more clouds in the afternoon. High of 58 and low of 44. Sunrise at 6:16 am and sunset at 7:58 pm. [Weather.gov]