High Water Bills Prompt Questions — A number of Arlington residents say their quarterly water bills for the summer and fall spiked to inconceivably high levels, in some cases in excess of $2,000. The county government, however, says no systemic billing issues have been found and blames the high bills on hot and dry weather combined with homeowners irrigating their yards. [InsideNova]
News Photog Saved By Arlington Medic — WUSA9 photographer Dion Wiggins suffered a massive heart attack while shooting video of traffic along I-395 last month. It was an Arlington County paramedic, Chris Abrahams, who together with firefighter Jason Griffith revived Wiggins from cardiac arrest, stabilized him and transported him to George Washington University Hospital. Wiggins is now back at home and on the road to recovery. [WUSA9]
ACPD: Don’t DUI After the Super Bowl — Super Bowl Sunday is two days away and the Arlington County Police Department is reminding residents to designate a driver for the big game. The Super Bowl is one of the biggest days of the year for DUI, with a third of all U.S. traffic deaths due to drunk drivers. [Arlington County]
D.C. Metro Work This Weekend — Major scheduled track work will close six downtown D.C. Metro stations along the Blue, Orange and Silver lines this weekend. The Blue and Orange lines will be split in two and the Silver line will end at Ballston. “Customers traveling between Virginia and DC are encouraged to use the Yellow Line, if possible,” Metro says. [WMATA]
Kudos for Sheriff’s Office — “The Arlington County Sheriff’s Office has been awarded reaccreditation by the American Correctional Association Commission (ACA), whose standards are the national benchmark for the effective operation of correctional facilities in the United States.” [Arlington County]
WHS Swimmers in Regionals — “With three Wakefield swimmers heading off to regionals — the most in recent history — the Wakefield community is overflowing with enthusiasm and excitement in anticipation of a splashing victory.” [Wakefield Chieftain]
Obit: Mel Labat — Long-time Arlington tennis coach Mel Labat passed away last week. A memorial service will be held tomorrow (Saturday). A scholarship fund has been established, with the proceeds going to the Arlington Youth Tennis Program. [YMCA, Legacy]
Flickr pool photo by Alan Kotok
Bald Eagle Spotted on Fourth of July — A bald eagle was spotted in the area of N. Park Drive, in the Arlington Forest neighborhood, yesterday on the Fourth of July (see above). The eagle “finally flew away after half an hour of harassment from a bunch of crows,” noted a neighborhood listserv email, but not before delighting adults and children in the neighborhood who gathered to see the patriotic sight.
Vietnam Vet Survives Stroke Thanks to Medics — Quick-acting Arlington County paramedics, a Good Samaritan who helped direct traffic at an intersection to let the ambulance through and skilled emergency room doctors helped to save the life of a Vietnam veteran who suffered a stroke while visiting his son in Arlington. [Fox 5]
School Board Chair Focused on Achievement — The Arlington School Board’s new chairman, Nancy Van Doren, says her focus is on individual student achievement, even in the midst of ongoing school growth and capacity challenges. “Our litmus test must be: Does each and every child receive the support he or she needs?” Van Doren said. [InsideNova]
Faked Fireworks Included Arlington Angle — The internet is abuzz about PBS’ use of “rerun” fireworks footage intermixed with live footage during its Capitol Fourth broadcast last night. One of the camera angles used showed an impossibly clear view of the fireworks and of the Capitol building from Arlington. In actuality, rain and low clouds made for a dreary, hazy view of the fireworks display. [WTOP]
Photo courtesy of Paul Fiorino
County Announces ‘Energy Lending Library’ — Today, on Earth Day, Arlington County is formally announcing what it says is the nation’s first “energy lending library.” Via Arlington Public Library, residents will be able to borrow thermal imaging cameras, energy meters and books that will help residents identify areas of energy waste in their homes. [Arlington County]
Woman Arrested After Foot Chase in Pentagon City — A shoplifting suspect was taken into custody in Pentagon City after leading police on a foot chase yesterday, just before 6 p.m. Police were still searching for the woman’s shoplifting accomplice. [Twitter]
New Lubber Run Community Center Planned — Arlington County Manager Mark Schwartz has proposed a new, $45 million Lubber Run Community Center. The four-story structure would also include a parking garage, so that the existing surface lot can be converted to parkland. [InsideNova]
Arlington Hires Full-Time Ombudsman — Arlington County has a new ombudsman. Former Dept. of Human Services assistant director Robert Sharpe has been named to the county’s newly-created position of Director of Constituent Services. Sharpe’s job will be “troubleshooting issues on behalf of his fellow Arlington residents while working directly with departments, County leadership and the County Board.” [Arlington County]
Free ‘Pop Up Yoga’ Session on the Pike — On Sunday, from 11 a.m. to noon, a free “pop up” yoga class will be held at Penrose Square (2503 Columbia Pike). “Lisa Marie, local artist and certified yoga instructor, will lead the participants through postures, intentions and breath” that are specifically inspired by the pair of sculptures in the park. [With Love DC]
Medics on Motorcycles? — The citizen task force coming up with recommendations for Arlington’s Fire Station 8 has struck upon a novel idea: using motorcycle-based paramedics to get to patients faster in traffic than would a big, lumbering ambulance. Not every member of the task force, however, thought that was a good idea, citing potential issues with staffing. [InsideNova]
Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick
Update at 3:30 p.m. — Metro says trains are no longer single tracking.
A Metro train got stuck in the Potomac River tunnel outside of the Rosslyn station this afternoon, leading to delays and a paramedic dispatch.
Metro evacuated passengers to the front of the disabled train — then through another train — and into the station, a video (below) shows. Metro requested that an Arlington County medic unit respond to the station as a precaution.
Orange, Blue and Silver line trains were single-tracking through station as a result of the incident. Passengers should expect significant delays.
The train that became disabled in the tunnel is one of Metro’s new 7000-series trains.
OR/SV/BL trains continue single tracking due to a disabled train outside Rosslyn. Delays in both directions. 3:04p #wmata
— Metrorail Info (@Metrorailinfo) April 14, 2016
Disabled train UPDATE – all customers aboard have been safely evacuated out of tunnel. Crews working to move disabled train. 3:11p #wmata
— Metrorail Info (@Metrorailinfo) April 14, 2016
Passengers had to walk through tunnel https://t.co/a3Uao2Bs0D
— Adam Tuss (@AdamTuss) April 14, 2016
— Jesse James Helfrich (@abbajabanana) April 14, 2016
Now being herded to front of train. pic.twitter.com/tq4PDriJYX
— Jesse James Helfrich (@abbajabanana) April 14, 2016
— Katherine (@kathenwy) April 14, 2016
Looks like they backed up an older train to the new train and passengers walked through to get to platform https://t.co/cY3XYfsU7q
— Adam Tuss (@AdamTuss) April 14, 2016
The incident happened around 10:30 a.m. The student is a 17-year-old girl, according to scanner traffic.
There were no reports that the teen was bleeding or otherwise injured, although swallowing a sharp object can obviously cause serious medical problems. She was transported via ambulance to a local hospital.
Update at 5:45 p.m. — Wakefield High School’s principal sent an email to families calling ARLnow.com’s report “incomplete” (see below). Asked for comment and clarification, Arlington Public Schools Assistant Superintendent for School and Community Relations Linda Erdos told ARLnow.com:
“APS staff cannot discuss private details about an incident with any student. Students and their families were understandably upset by the media report. Dr. Willmore’s email was intended to reassure them that the student’s needs were being addressed appropriately, while respecting the individual’s privacy, and offering support to those who might need it.”
Dear Wakefield Families,
Earlier today, a local media website reported that the Arlington County Emergency Medical Service (EMS) had been called to Wakefield because of a report that a student had swallowed a razor blade. Word spread quickly among our students here a Wakefield and at other Arlington high schools because students assumed that the article was complete and accurate.
Understandably, this has sparked a considerable amount of concern among our students. While we respect the privacy of all students, I also want to assure you that what was reported was incomplete.
I can confirm that this morning the EMS responded to a call from our clinic about a student. Although the student was not in any apparent physical distress, we made the decision to call 911 because the safety of our students is always our primary concern, and we have been in close contact with the student’s family.
Please encourage your student to speak with their counselor or an administrator if they have any questions or lingering concerns. We are also available to speak with you if you have any questions about our response to this morning’s events.
The incident happened around noon. According to witnesses, the man might have suffered a seizure before falling half-way down the escalator near the Haagen Dazs store. He suffered what appeared to be a broken leg and was quickly tended to by security personnel and paramedics.
Mall maintenance workers could be seen cleaning blood off the escalator after the man was transported to the hospital. Witnesses say the man was part of a large group of pro-life activists that were shopping and eating at the mall.
The incident happened around 11:00 Sunday night. Arlington Medic 109 was exiting a parking lot onto the 2400 block of S. Glebe Road, with lights and sirens blaring and a medical patient on board, when the driver observed a car approaching at a high rate of speed. The ambulance stopped but the driver of the approaching vehicle did not, and the car broadsided the ambulance, according to Arlington County Fire Department spokesman Capt. Bill Shelton.
The driver of the car then fled on foot, Shelton said. He was later apprehended by police and transported to the hospital for treatment of injuries suffered in the crash.
The patient on Medic 109 was taken to the hospital by another ambulance, apparently unhurt by the collision, according to Shelton. The two paramedics were taken to the hospital as a precautionary measure, also uninjured.
“They were very lucky in that respect,” Shelton told ARLnow.com. “It was a very substantial impact.”
A police spokesman could not be reached to confirm which charges are being filed against the alleged hit-and-run driver. Until repairs can be made, Medic 109 will be replaced by a reserve medic unit from the fire department’s fleet.
Photo courtesy Robert Eversburg/ACFD
The driver of an Arlington Transit bus has been cited for a crash involving an ambulance this morning.
The accident happened near the intersection of Walter Reed Drive and Four Mile Run Drive. The ambulance, Arlington medic unit No. 101, was en route to a call at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall around 7:45 a.m., when the ART bus pulled out in front of it, causing a crash, according to Arlington County Fire Battalion Chief Daniel Fitch.
The ambulance, which had its lights and sirens on, slammed into the bus, causing the bus to roll into a small ditch adjacent to the W&OD bike trail.
One of the firefighters in the ambulance was transported to the hospital for observation, Fitch said. No other injuries were reported.
The driver of the bus, who was the only person on the bus at the time of the crash, was cited for failure to yield.
If you’ve ever wanted to become an Arlington firefighter or EMT, now’s your chance.
Arlington County is beginning a new round of firefighter/EMT recruitment starting today, May 11. According to a fire department recruitment web page, the process will remain open through Tuesday May 22, 2012.
The application process for becoming an Arlington firefighter is a bit daunting, however. The following are the steps one must go through in order to be offered the job, according to the fire department website:
- Submission of online application
- Application screening
- Communication of eligibility via letter and/or email
- Written examination
- CPAT Practice Sessions
- Submission of Background Package
- CPAT Official Test
Fingerprinting & Ongoing Background Investigation
- Panel Interview with Fire Department Personnel
- Conditional Offer of Employment
- Polygraph Examination
- Psychological and Physical Examinations
- Uniform Fitting
- Interview with the Fire Chief
- Final Offer of Employment
Flags in Arlington are flying at half-staff today in honor of Alexandria paramedic Joshua Weissman.
Weissman died last week after falling 20-30 feet from I-395 while responding to a vehicle fire near Shirlington. Yesterday Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell authorized flags in Alexandria and Arlington to fly at half-staff in Weissman’s memory.
Family, friends, fellow firefighters and the public are mourning Weissman’s death at funeral services in Alexandria this afternoon. Some 2,000 people and 200 fire vehicles are expected to take part in the funeral procession and services, which have shut down several busy streets around the city and prompted an early dismissal from Alexandria schools.
Joshua Weissman, 33, was on the scene of a vehicle fire on I-395 near Shirlington when he fell through a small gap between the northbound and HOV lanes, on the bridges over Four Mile Run. The Bristow resident, a seven-year veteran of the Alexandria Fire Department, fell into the creek below and was knocked unconscious.
Weissman was extricated from the water by rescuers from Arlington and Alexandria, and was rushed via ambulance to Washington Hospital Center. In the end, however, Weissman’s severe head injury was proved to be fatal.
The Alexandria Fire Department is providing counseling for its personnel and for the Weissman family, including his wife. The couple did not have children. Weissman was based out of Alexandria’s Seminary Road fire station.
A swarm of angry bees in an apartment building injured one man and kept police and firefighters at bay last night.
The man was apparently trying to get a bee hive out of a second-story apartment in the Radnor/Ft. Myer Heights neighborhood when he was stung multiple times. The man reportedly suffered some sort of allergic reaction, and was attended to by Arlington County paramedics.
Police and firefighters, meanwhile, stood watch over the building, at 1300 N. Rhodes Street, while they waited for a contract exterminator to show up.
The county issued a short statement to ARLnow.com last night confirming they’re “currently investigating reports of gastrointestinal (GI) illness at a long-term care facility.”
Citing “confidentiality rules,” a Department of Human Services spokesman refused to identify the facility. A source, however, tells us the facility is the Sunrise at Bluemont Park (5910 Wilson Blvd) senior living community.
The source says paramedics were called to the building on Wednesday. Medics then called the health department.
“We have not yet identified the cause of the illness; however, it is not uncommon to have GI illness due to Norovirus this time of year,” DHS spokesman Kurt Larrick said. “We are working with the facility on ways to control the spread of illness.”
The county said members of the public can help stop the spread of Norovirus and other gastrointestinal illnesses by washing one’s hands frequently with warm water and soap for 20 seconds and by staying at home if you feel sick.
“Please postpone visiting an assisted living facility, nursing home or hospital” if you’re sick and “keep your sick children home from school,” the county advised.
The woman swiped merchandise from the Payless shoe store on the second level of the mall, according to police spokesperson Det. Crystal Nosal. As she was running to the escalator, she sprayed pepper spray at a manager who was chasing after her.
The substance caused numerous people in the mall to develop symptoms that included difficulty breathing and burning eyes.
Firefighters set up a triage area outside the mall. A dozen people were treated and five people were brought to the hospital, including the store manager, Nosal said. They’re expected to be fine.
Witnesses described a foul odor in the mall shortly after the incident.
“There was a smell, a funny smell, and people were coming through [the hall] coughing and gagging,” said Danielle Davis, who works in the mall building. “Once I saw that… I turned around.”
The woman got away and is still at large. Police will be reviewing surveillance footage in an attempt to identify her.
A fire department spokesperson initially said the mall was evacuated during the incident. Nosal said everyone who left the mall did so on their own volition.
Update at 3:25 p.m. — Police describe the suspect as “an African American female, medium height, mid-length dark hair, red shiny puffy jacket, tight light colored pants, and white shoes.”
Nearly every day, the number of Arlington County ambulances ready to respond to calls reaches zero, prompting dispatchers to broadcast a warning to supervisors while they scramble to find medics that can be put back into service.
While there are often other options available in the event a call comes in while all ,paramedic units are busy, Arlington Fire Chief James Schwartz says it’s a problem the department is aware of and trying to address.
“EMS is one of my highest priorities,” Schwartz said. “Almost every day we run out of available medic units.”
Medical calls make up about 60 percent of the fire department’s call volume, according to Schwartz. At any given time, about seven paramedic units are on duty in the county. Of those, two or three are usually out at a hospital, delivering patients or restocking their supplies.
When the number of paramedic units reaches the ‘critical’ level — one or none — the first order of business is usually to see if any units out at the hospital can be put into service. Another option is to take advantage of the county’s mutual aid agreement with the Alexandria, Fairfax County and Reagan National Airport fire departments.
It’s a common, daily occurrence for Fairfax medics to respond to calls in the western part of the county, or for airport ambulance crews to respond to calls in the Crystal City area. Every day, Arlington fire and medic units will also respond to calls outside the county.
In the event that a paramedic crew is temporarily unavailable, a fire engine can be sent ahead. Since the county’s fire trucks are often staffed with trained paramedics and equipped with advanced life support gear, sending the engine first means there is no delay in a patient’s on-scene medical treatment. But an ambulance is still needed to take the patient to the hospital.
In a real pinch, a “surge unit” in the Clarendon/Courthouse area can be put into action by moving a fire crew to an unstaffed ambulance.
Schwartz said he’s unaware of any instances in which medics were delayed and a patient was harmed as a result.
The paramedic situation was discussed during this year’s budget, Schwartz said, adding that county policymakers are aware of the problem and often ask about it. He suggested that the department will seek funding for another medic unit during the next round of budget talks.
“I would expect that it would be a topic of this year’s process,” he said.