Morning Notes

Police Face Pressure from Understaffing, Reform Advocates — The McLean Citizens Association’s recent public safety forum highlighted a number of issues facing the Fairfax County Police Department, from struggles to recruit and retain officers to calls for additional reforms to address civil rights concerns and improve transparency. [Sun Gazette/Inside NoVA]

All Terrain Vehicle Caused Building Fire in Tysons — “Building fire on 4/24 at 1:49 PM in 1500 block Spring Hill Rd, Tysons. Crews located ATV on fire in repair shop. Fire extinguished by fire sprinkler system. No injuries reported. Cause: an electrical malfunction involving the wiring circuit of ATV. Damages: $6K.” [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department/Twitter]

Citizens Group Unimpressed by Proposed Falls Church School Names — A group of citizens led by a former Falls Church City mayor and two former vice mayors says that none of the names proposed as replacements for George Mason High School and Thomas Jefferson Elementary School “resonated” with them. The school board is scheduled to choose new names tonight (Tuesday). [Falls Church News-Press]

Vienna to Put Cottage Housing on Display — “Cottage housing…increasingly is in demand as home prices skyrocket and people’s desires for simpler living increase. To give the public a sense of how such a collection of diminutive dwellings might be arranged, the Vienna Planning and Zoning Department from May 8 through 23 will display a scale-model development using dog houses at the Vienna Town Green.” [Sun Gazette]

Meat-Centered Restaurant Reopens in Mosaic DistrictThe B Side, a restaurant supported by Red Apron Butcher, started offering indoor dining again for the first time in more than a year earlier this month. Chef and butcher Nathan Anda marked the occasion with a brand-new menu that features everything from schnitzel to a wagyu pastrami bowl. [Northern Virginia Magazine]

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Morning Notes

Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Pause Lifted — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Food and Drug Administration determined Friday (April 23) that the use of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine should resume. Its use was halted on April 13 due to reports of rare blood clots in 15 cases out of the 8 million people who have received the vaccine. [Patch]

Smoking Materials Caused Vienna Fire — A building fire in the 100 block of Church Street in Vienna on April 22 was the result of improperly discarded smoking materials. The fire caused about $18,750 in damages, but no one was displaced or needed medical assistance. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department]

Bijan Ghaisar Case Moved to Federal Court — A federal judge decided on Friday that the case against two Park Police officers who shot McLean resident Bijan Ghaisar after a vehicle pursuit in 2017 should be moved from state to federal court, where the defendants’ attorneys hope to have the case dismissed. A Fairfax County grand jury indicted the officers on manslaughter charges in October. [DCist]

McLean District Police Report Commercial Burglaries — The Fairfax County Police Department reported three commercial burglaries in the McLean District in its most recent weekly recap. The incidents occurred at CosmoProf (2976 Gallows Rd.) on April 16 and at Merrifield One Hour Photo (2833 Gallows Rd.) and Tobacco Plus 1 (7640 Lee Highway) on April 17. [FCPD]

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Morning Notes

Early Voting Begins Today — At 9 a.m., Fairfax County voters can start casting their ballots for the June 8 Democratic primary. Early voting has expanded from previous years, with all registered voters now allowed to participate and the county immediately offering three locations with Saturday hours. [Fairfax County Government]

McLean Downtown Plan Public Hearing Pushed Back — The Fairfax County Planning Commission will defer a public hearing on the McLean Community Business Center study that was scheduled for next Wednesday (April 28). A new date for the public to comment on the much-debated draft plan will be announced on April 28. [Fairfax County Planning Commission]

I-66 West in Dunn Loring Closed Tonight — “All lanes of I-66 West approaching I-495 will be closed during the overnight hours Friday, April 23, to allow for continued installation of bridge beams for new ramps at the I-66/I-495 Interchange. All I-66 West traffic will be detoured around the closure via Route 7 (Leesburg Pike) West and I-495 South.” [VDOT]

Man Arrested for Capital Beltway Crashes — Virginia State Police arrested a 26-year-old man yesterday (Thursday) for allegedly crashing into two vehicles around the 53-mile marker of I-495 in Fairfax County and punching the drivers in an attempt to carjack their vehicles. The suspect is in custody in Maryland with charges pending as he awaits extradition to Virginia. [WTOP]

Fire Temporarily Closes Vienna’s Church Street — Fairfax County Fire and Rescue units responded to a fire in the basement of a building on the 100 block of Church Street NE in Vienna yesterday. The fire was extinguished with no reported injuries, but the activity temporarily closed the road between Center and Mill streets. [Patch]

Capital One Airport Lounge Coming to Dulles — “Capital One Financial Corp. plans to open its Dulles International Airport lounge sometime in 2022 and we now have renderings that show what the 9,100-square-foot space could look like. The Dulles location will be the second of a network of lounges the McLean-based financial giant is branding, Capital One (NYSE: COF) announced Monday.” [Washington Business Journal]

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Improperly discarded smoking materials produced a fire in a one-story, single-family home in the Vienna/Dunn Loring area last night, the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department reported this morning.

Units from the county and City of Fairfax were dispatched to the 2600 block of Bowling Green Drive just off of Cedar Lane at approximately 9:28 p.m. for a reported house fire.

Upon arriving at the scene, first responders found that a fire on the house’s rear deck was starting to spread toward the building itself. The fire was extinguished, and no injuries were reported to either the firefighters or the two people who were at home when the fire started.

“One of the occupants observed fire on the deck while looking out a window,” the FCFRD said. “Both occupants evacuated and called 9-1-1. Smoke alarms activated, but after the fire was discovered.”

Both residents have been displaced as a result of the fire, which caused around $116,400 in damages. Investigators determined that the fire was accidental in nature.

Citing this fire as an example of what could happen, the FCFRD cautions that improperly discarded cigarettes and other smoking materials, like ashes, can be especially hazardous on days like today. Fairfax County is currently under a Red Flag Warning for weather conditions that could contribute to fires.

The fire department says smoking materials should not be left in mulch, shrubbery, or potted plant soil, which can be highly flammable in dry weather. Ashtrays and sand are the best options for safe disposal.

Photo via Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department

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The National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag Warning for Fairfax County and the rest of the D.C. region today, signaling that weather conditions could breed fires.

The warning will be in effect from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. It replaces a Fire Weather Watch that had been issued yesterday and was scheduled to begin at noon today.

“A Red Flag Warning means that critical fire weather conditions are either occurring now, or will shortly,” the NWS says. “A combination of strong winds, low relative humidity, and warm temperatures can contribute to extreme fire behavior.”

Here is more from the alert:

The National Weather Service in Baltimore MD/Washington has issued a Red Flag Warning for low humidity and gusty winds, which is in effect from 11 AM this morning to 6 PM EST this evening. The Fire Weather Watch is no longer in effect.

* WINDS…Southwest 15 to 20 mph with gusts up to 30 mph.

* RELATIVE HUMIDITY…20 to 30 percent.

* IMPACTS…Critical fire weather conditions are likely to develop today. All outdoor burning is discouraged, as fires could rapidly spread and become uncontrollable.

* FUEL MOISTURE…5 to 8 percent for fine fuels.

Virginia already prohibits open-air burning before 4 p.m. for fires that are within 300 feet of the woods or dry grass which can carry the fire to the woods. The 4 p.m. Law takes effect every year from Feb. 15 to April 30, since the combination of elevated winds and low humidity traditionally results in increased numbers of fires, according to the Virginia Department of Forestry.

“You are allowed to burn between 4 p.m and midnight as long as you take proper care and precaution and attend your fire at all times,” the Department of Forestry says.

Evidence of the heightened risk of fires was on display last night in Vienna, where a house fire caused by improperly discarded smoking materials resulted in $116,400 in damages, the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department reported.

“These conditions are ripe for an improperly discarded cigarette/smoking material, thrown into mulch or other brush, to spark a significant fire that can then spread to homes and buildings,” the FCFRD said. “Many times, these fires have the potential to spread to homes and buildings that are close by.”

The fire department says cigarettes and other smoking materials should be discarded in an ashtray or bucket of sand, and butts and ashes should be completely doused with water before being thrown away. Cigarettes should never be disposed of in mulch, shrubbery, or potted plant soil, which can be highly flammable in dry weather.

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Monday Morning Notes

Home Depot Buys Tysons Property But Plans Are Unclear — “The Atlanta-based home improvement giant paid $35.9 million for 2000 Chain Bridge Road, a 7.08-acre site at the intersection of Chain Bridge Road and Leesburg Pike, according to public records.” [Washington Business Journal]

Bridge Work Reduces I-66 Approaching Cedar Lane to One Travel Lane — “Overnight lane closures and traffic stoppages are planned on I-66 East and West in Vienna area Monday, January 25, through Friday, January 29, for overhead bridge work at Cedar Lane. This work is part of the Transform 66 Outside the Beltway Project.” [VDOT]

Vienna Storage Room Fire Still Under Investigation — The cause of a storage room fire that occured on Dec. 19 at the 9300 block of Lee Highway remains under investigation. Fire investigators are seeking the public’s assistance in identifying three persons of interest and getting information about vehicles that may have been damaged at the time. [Sun Gazette/Inside NoVA]

Walmart Partners with Tysons Startup on Home Deliveries — Walmart announced on Jan. 12 that it will partner with the Tysons-based startup HomeValet on a pilot project to test temperature-controlled smart boxes that could allow groceries to “be delivered, contact-free, to the secure box and kept cold at any time — even if the customer isn’t at home.” [TechCrunch]

Tysons Tops D.C. Suburbs in Number of New Apartments — “According to RENTCafé, 2,562 new units have been completed in Tysons in the past five years, putting the locale tenth nationwide for the most suburban apartment construction.” [DC UrbanTurf]

Major Falls Church Developments Seek Changes — The City of Falls Church is considering proposed revisions to its agreements with developers on the Gateway, Founders Row, and Broad and Washington projects. The city council will vote on the latter two tonight (Monday). [Falls Church News-Press]

Staff Photo by Jay Westcott

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Emergency responders with the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department are on the scene of a house fire in the 1100 block of Pine Hill Road in McLean.

The blaze was visible through the house’s second floor when crews first arrived around 10 a.m. today (Tuesday).

The FCFRD reported at 10:21 a.m. that the fire has been extinguished, and crews are now clearing smoke from the home. No injuries have been reported.

Responders from Arlington County and Montgomery County provided assistance.

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Updated at 4:10 p.m. — The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department says the situation is now stable, and all people trapped in stalled elevators have been freed. There are no reported injuries or indications of natural gas issues at this time.

Police officers are assisting with traffic control in the area around Tysons Corner Center.

“Please use caution and follow police direction,” the Fairfax County Police Department says.

Earlier — A transformer caught fire in the 1900 block of Chain Bridge Road in Tysons, the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department reported just before 3:30 p.m. today (Friday).

The fire is now out after units responded to the scene, but electrical power has been cut off in the area, resulting in multiple calls from people stuck in elevators. Emergency responders are helping free them.

The FCFRD says crews have not detected any gas leaks or odors so far.

Dominion Energy crews are also on the scene working to isolate the transformer.

“We are working to get power back as quickly and safely as possible but I’m told the work will take a few hours,” Dominion spokesperson Peggy Fox said.

A map from Dominion Energy indicates that two power outages have affected 74 customers in the Tysons area. 68 people have lost power because a circuit is out, and an outage affecting six people has been attributed to an equipment problem.

Dominion Energy estimates that power will be restored in both cases between 5-8 p.m.

Map via Dominion Energy

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Wednesday Morning Notes

Mary Riley Styles Public Library Construction Closes N. Virginia Ave. in Falls Church — “The 100 block of N. Virginia Ave. will be closed from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Wednesday, November 4, to allow for work on the library renovation and expansion project.” [City of Falls Church]

Halloween House Fire in McLean Causes Serious Damage — “An abandoned house in McLean went up in flames on Halloween night, causing $621,400 in damages…The cause of the fire remains under investigation.” [Patch]

How a Tysons Task Force Built a Road Map for Redevelopment — “The Tysons Land Use Task Force provides a potential model for permitting more housing in other expensive, suburban jurisdictions.” [Greater Greater Washington]

Wawa Hosts Tesla Giveaway and Electric Car Parade in Vienna — “Not only did the event crown Luis, local resident of Alexandria, VA, with a brand-new Tesla, but the event supported sustainable environmental causes throughout Vienna.” [Wawa]

Photo courtesy Wawa

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A house fire caused trash delays and road closures today in a Falls Church neighborhood.

The fire in the 1300 block of Robinson Place caused several road closures in the area earlier today, according to press releases from the city. All of the roads except for Robinson Place have not reopened. Trash and recycling collection will be delayed in the area with some possibly waiting until Thursday morning.

Three residents in the house were safely evacuated, according to the latest press release. “The previous news release noted that one occupant was transported to a hospital, but that was a reporting error,” the press release said.

The city’s fire official is investigating the cause of the fire, the press release said.

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