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There was a fire earlier this week at the 8200 block of Crestwood Heights Drive in Tysons, but even before Fairfax Fire & Rescue arrived it was doused by the building’s sprinkler system.

The fire started just after midnight in an upper-floor apartment of a 19-story high-rise building. There were no injuries and $200 in damages.

Bill Delaney, a public affairs officer for Fairfax County Fire and Rescue, said fires being taken out by sprinklers before firefighters arrive is uncommon, given that sprinklers are only typical in newer high rise buildings.

“Sprinklers are mostly located in high-rise buildings, condos, apartments,” said Delaney. “Also a variety of commercial type buildings and businesses. Older types of those buildings do not have fire sprinklers as it was not a requirement at the time they were built.”

Delaney said the fire was caused by improperly discarded smoking materials. Delaney noted that this was the sixth fire in 2019 caused by discarded cigarettes or other smoking devices. One last week caused significant damage to a home after cigarettes were thrown into the trash.

Fairfax County Fire and Rescue offered a few suggestions for safely disposing of cigarettes.

  • Never dispose of cigarette butts in potted planting soil. The soil, when it gets too dry, can become highly flammable.
  • Never flick cigarettes into mulch or shrubbery. Dispose of them in a suitable ashtray or bucket with sand. Ensure designated outside smoking areas have an appropriate fireproof container, ashtray or bucket.
  • Completely douse butts and ashes with water before throwing them away, as they can smolder and cause a fire.
  • Never smoke in bed.
  • Provide large, deep ashtrays with a center support for smokers. Check furniture for any dropped ashes before going to bed. Empty ashes into a fireproof container with water and sand.
  • Keep smoking materials away from anything that can burn (i.e., mattresses, bedding, upholstered furniture, draperies, etc.).
  • Never smoke in a home where oxygen is being used.
  • If you smoke, choose fire-safe cigarettes. They are less likely to cause fires.
  • To prevent a deadly cigarette fire, you must be alert. You won’t be if you are sleepy, have been drinking, or have taken medicine or other drugs.
  • Keep matches and lighters up high, out of children’s sight and reach.
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A vehicle was fully engulfed by flames on the Beltway near Tysons Monday morning.

The fire was reported around 10:45 a.m., on the Outer Loop near I-66 and Tysons, according to WTOP Traffic.

Traffic camera images show two left-hand lanes of the Beltway blocked by first responders, as firefighters worked to extinguish the flames. Thick black smoke could be seen billowing into the air prior to the fire being extinguished.

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Months after a fire destroyed the Marco Polo restaurant in Vienna, town officials hope they could soon tear the building down.

A fire at the restaurant in October left the building completely destroyed. Two teens were ultimately charged with arson.

Today, the restaurant remains a burned husk and the Vienna Town Council has initiated “blight proceedings” to try and have the building destroyed, an effort that seems to be bearing fruit.

“We are making progress,” said Town Manager Mercury Payton at a Town Council meeting on Monday (Jan. 28). “We are rather close to having what we need for the demolition permit. We don’t have the demolition permit authorized at this point.”

According to Cindy Petkac, director of planning and zoning for the Town of Vienna, discussion on the demolition of the burned building has been proceeding quickly over the last few weeks.

Petkac said staff met with the building’s owner and staff is currently reviewing a demolition permit with revised erosion and sediment control. Water and sewer access to the building has been capped.

“It was well over a month ago that we started blight proceedings,” said Vienna Town Council Member Howard Springsteen. “I’m getting a lot of complaints that this is an eyesore.”

Petkac said demolition at the building is expected within a month.

“The sooner that building gets cleared, the safer it will be,” said Mayor Laurie DiRocco.

Another fire occurred last week, when a large tree fell onto power lines behind the 123-year-old Bouton Hall at the corner of Church and Mill Streets. The building is owned by the Masonic organization, Concord Lodge 307, and contains the Pennywise Thrift Shop.

According to town staff, the damage from the fire is still being assessed. Payton said how the damage will affect planned renovations to the building is too premature to say.

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Morning Notes

Fire at Tysons Corner Center Garage — Firefighters extinguished a car fire that scorched part of a Tysons Corner Center parking garage and filled the area with smoke Saturday afternoon. [Twitter]

Fire Department Hiring Firefighter/EMTs — “Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department will begin accepting applications for the position of Firefighter/EMT on Saturday, January 26, 2019. The application period is currently scheduled to remain open throughout 2019.” [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue]

‘Stuff the Bus’ on Track for Huge Haul — “By the time this year’s Stuff the Bus concludes on Feb. 18, the county expects to surpass 250,000 pounds of collected food.” [Fairfax Times]

Snow May Snarl Tuesday PM Commute — Per Fairfax County: “If you plan on commuting Tuesday evening, be aware of the potential for travel disruptions. Plan ahead by allowing for extra travel time, and consider using public transportation and telework options.” [Twitter, National Weather Service]

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Update on 1/25/19: The fire started when a large tree fell onto power lines servicing the building, resulting in a power surge within the electrical panel located in the basement, said Fairfax County Fire and Rescue. There were no injuries, but the damage from the fire is approximately $25,000.

(Updated at 2:25 p.m.) Firefighters are on scene of a two-alarm structure fire in the Town of Vienna.

The blaze broke out in a basement of the Pennywise Thrift Shop, at the intersection of Church and Mill streets, around 12:30 p.m. As of 1:05 p.m., firefighters on the scene said that the fire was still burning but was largely under control. As of 1:20 p.m., firefighters were removing portions of walls on the first floor, reporting that additional fire was burning in the walls.

Numerous road closures have been reported in the area. So far, no injuries have been reported.

The thrift shop has been open since 1961 and sells “affordable, lightly used clothing and household items,” according to its website. The store is run by Vienna’s Church of the Holy Comforter.

A tree fell on utility lines near the store, causing a hazard for firefighters, according to a fire department spokesperson, but it’s not clear whether that might have also helped to cause the fire.

As of 2 p.m., the fire was out and investigators were working to determine the cause.

One local resident told Tysons Reporter that she is concerned about how the thrift store will be able to recover and what will happen to everything inside.

“I’m worried about all of the merchandise in the thrift store there,” the resident said. “It’s probably all smoke damaged now.”

Units are on scene of building fire in the 100 block of Church St NE in Vienna. A Second Alarm was requested. Fire is out. No injuries reported at this time. Most units going in service shortly. Video from earlier in fire. #fcfrd #fairfaxcounty #fire

Posted by Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department on Thursday, January 24, 2019

Photo (8) via Google Maps

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An early morning fire in McLean caused significant damage to a two story home near Langley High School.

Firefighters were dispatched to the 900 block of Turkey Run Road around 4 a.m. and encountered flames coming from the roof of a home upon arrival. The blaze was extinguished and by 6 a.m. crews were working to douse remaining hotspots. No injuries were reported.

The fire occurred about a mile from Friday’s two-alarm blaze on Malta Lane, which like Turkey Run Road is a narrow back road that’s somewhat difficult for large fire apparatus to navigate.

Update on 1/10/19 — The fire caused more than $300,000 in damage, according to Fairfax County Fire and Rescue. No one was at home at the time of the blaze.

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Morning Notes

New Theater Coming to Tysons Galleria — “The soon-to-close Macy’s at Tysons Galleria will be replaced with multiple storefronts — including what appears to be an iPic movie theater — each with their own facade and materials to set them apart. That’s the word from a Fairfax County staff report published last week ahead of a planning commission hearing on an amended sign plan for the Galleria, which specifically addresses the 260,000-square-foot Macy’s. That store alone accounts for 30 percent of the upscale Galleria.” [Washington Business Journal]

Journalist’s Mosque Opposition Questioned — The leader of the community opposition to an expansion of the McLean Islamic Center’s prayer service is a reporter for the Wall Street Journal. The Washington Post’s Paul Farhi asks: should mainstream journalists be taking activist stances against religious institutions, even in a community setting? [Washington Post]

McLean Fire Causes Extensive Damage — The manage estimate from Friday’s big house fire in McLean is $1.1 million. Three people were displaced by the fire. The cause is still under investigation, according to the Fairfax County Fire Department. [Facebook]

Positive Results for I-66 Tolls — “Since HOV lanes went into effect on I-66 one year ago, the results have been largely positive. Carpooling has increased, and motorists are traveling at higher speeds and experiencing fewer collisions thanks to less congestion.” [Greater Greater Washington, WTOP]

DXC Makes Another Acquisition — “Tysons-based DXC Technology announced Monday plans to acquire Luxoft Holding Inc. (NYSE: LXFT) in a deal worth roughly $2 billion. The New York-based Luxoft provides digital strategy consulting and engineering services for countries across North America, Europe and Asia Pacific.” [Washington Business Journal, BusinessWire]

Photo courtesy @tysonspartners

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(Updated at 3:55 p.m.) Firefighters battled a major, two-alarm house fire on Malta Lane in McLean this afternoon.

The fire broke out shortly after 1:30 p.m. on the 6600 block of Malta Lane, a narrow no-outlet street on the other side of Georgetown Pike from Langley High School. Firefighters from Fairfax County, Arlington County and Montgomery County were dispatched to the scene.

Initial reports suggest arriving units found heavy fire coming from the second floor of a large home, but struggled to find sufficient water pressure from hydrants in the area to battle the flames. Water tankers were subsequently dispatched to assist.

A partial collapse of the structure was reported, according to the Fairfax County Fire Department. The unsafe conditions delayed the search for victims inside the house, but all occupants have since been accounted for.

As of 2:45 p.m., most of the fire was out but firefighters were still trying to extinguish hot spots. The home has suffered “significant damage,” according to those on scene. Thus far, no injuries have been reported.

A fireground commander said he expects firefighters to remain on scene “for an extended period of time.” The county fire marshal’s office will be investigating the cause of the blaze.

Map via Google Maps

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A vehicle caught on fire and stopped two lanes of traffic on the Beltway near Tysons this afternoon.

The burning car was stuck in the left lane of the southbound side of the Beltway near the Dulles Toll Road.

The fire occurred around 1 p.m. and was the scene was cleared by 2 p.m. There were no immediate reports of injuries.

Photo via Twitter

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Morning Notes

Senators Try to Intervene for Farm — “As operations wind down at Claude Moore Colonial Farm following a contract dispute between the National Park Service (NPS) and the farm’s friends group, both of Virginia’s U.S. senators are asking for an yearlong extension so the parties can try to hammer out an agreement.” [InsideNova, Patch]

Vienna Council Wants Marco Polo Demolished — “The vacated Marco Polo Restaurant fell into disrepair before it burned down Oct. 14 in a blaze allegedly set by a pair of teenage arsonists. Vienna Town Council members on Dec. 10 urged town officials to step up their efforts to have the building’s charred remains demolished and removed.” [InsideNova]

FCPD Looking for Local Missing Man — Fairfax County Police are looking for a 35-year-old man who went missing after last been seen “near the 2200 block of Mohegan Drive in Falls Church.” He was wearing a black turban and jogging pants and is “considered endangered,” according to police. [Twitter]

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