Two People Displaced by Vienna Townhouse Fire — A townhouse fire in Vienna that closed part of Church Street for about two hours on Wednesday (June 9) displaced two people and resulted in about $148,750 in damages. Investigators say the fire was accidental, started in a wall between a bedroom closet and second-floor bathroom by an “open flame device (torch) that ignited nearby combustibles.” [FCFRD]
Police Hold Town Hall on Vehicle Pursuit Policy — Community members raised concerns about drunk driving and car thefts at a town hall that the Fairfax County Police Department held yesterday (Thursday) to discuss proposed revisions to its policy for vehicle pursuits. Among other changes, the new policy eliminates traffic violations, misdemeanors, and non-violent felonies as situations that can justify a pursuit. [WTOP]
School Bus Crashes in Annandale — A school bus and car collided at the intersection of Gallows Road and Surrey Lane in Annandale yesterday afternoon. The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department said “several” kids on the bus were transported to hospital “as a pre-caution for a check-up” and the car driver was transported with non-life-threatening injuries. [FCFRD/Twitter]
Classroom Modular Coming to Kilmer MS — Kilmer Middle School will get 10 new classroom spaces with the construction on a modular facility that will also have a staff workroom and restrooms. The Fairfax County School Board is scheduled to award a contract for the project on June 17 with on-site work expected to begin in July and finish by the end of this calendar year. [Hunter Mill District School Board Community Update]
Updated at 3:45 p.m. — Church Street has reopened, the Town of Vienna said at 3:16 p.m.
(Updated at 2:30 p.m.) A portion of Church Street in Vienna has been closed as firefighters respond to a townhouse fire in the area.
Just after 1 p.m., the Town of Vienna reported that Church Street NE will be shut down between Beulah Road and East Street for approximately two hours, while Fairfax County Fire and Rescue units work to extinguish a fire in the 400 block of Council Drive NE.
Heads up: Church Street NE between Beulah Road NE and East Street NE will be closed for approximately 2 hours due to a townhouse fire. Will update once street is open again. pic.twitter.com/OUww9oKxQm
— Town of Vienna, VA (@TownofViennaVA) June 9, 2021
The Fire and Rescue Department said at 12:25 p.m. that units were on the scene and saw smoke issuing from the townhouse’s second floor. The fire was located in the attic.
Battalion Chief Steve McFarland told Tysons Reporter that he immediately requested additional units upon seeing the smoke coming from the building’s roof.
Crews then discovered “heavy fire in the attic” when they reached the second floor, and they ultimately had to “vertically vent the roof” in order to get to the fire.
“When the crews made the second floor, they had zero visibility and high heat,” he said. “Once we were able to ventilate the roof, the conditions changed dramatically, and they were able to see to the fire and put the fire out.”
There were no injuries to civilians or firefighters, and the fire was contained in the attic with no extension to either of the adjacent townhouses, McFarland says.
However, the effort to extinguish the fire resulted in some water damage on the townhouse’s lower floors.
An investigation into the cause of the fire is now underway.
UPDATE from townhouse fire in 400 block of Council Drive NE in Vienna. Fire is out. No reported injuries at this time. Fire Investigators on scene to determine cause. #FCFRD pic.twitter.com/Jf9L1s6Ky2
— Fairfax County Fire/Rescue (@ffxfirerescue) June 9, 2021
Jay Westcott contributed to this report.
Man Dies in Great Falls Car Crash — A man identified as Salvadro Alvarez Perez, 24, of Maryland died Saturday night (May 29) after hitting a fence and mailbox and flipping over in a crash that occurred at 10:53 p.m. near the intersection of Georgetown Pike and Old Dominion Drive. Detectives believe alcohol may be a factor in the crash but are continuing to investigate whether speed was a factor as well. [FCPD]
Linway Terrace Closed for Stormwater Pipe Replacement — Starting at 8 a.m. today, Linway Terrace between Birch Road and Kirby Road (Route 695) in McLean will be closed to through traffic, weather permitting, until 5 p.m. on June 11 to replace a stormwater pipe. Except for people who need to access properties along Linway Terrace, traffic will not be able to go beyond just west of Bryan Branch Road in either direction. [VDOT]
Madeira School Expansion Approved by Planning Commission — “The Madeira School on May 26 received the Fairfax County Planning Commission’s unanimous support for its special-exception application to add a new science building, more housing and modernized equestrian facilities.” [Sun Gazette]
Idylwood House Fire Caused by Lightning Strike — A house fire that occurred in the 7700 block of Virginia Lane at approximately 8:40 p.m. last Wednesday (May 26) was caused by a lightning strike that hit the home’s exterior. There were no injuries, but the fire displaced two people and produced approximately $42,500 in damages. It was one of two house fires ignited by lightning that night. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue]
I-66 Lane Closures Coming to Vienna Area — “Overnight lane closures and traffic stoppages on I-66 East and West approaching Vaden Drive in Vienna are scheduled to occur Tuesday, June 1, through Saturday, June 5, for installation of beams for the new Express Lanes access ramps at Vaden Drive…Drivers should expect delays if traveling in this area and should consider using alternate routes.” [VDOT]
A house in Tysons caught fire after being struck by a lightning bolt during last night’s thunderstorm, the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department says.
Fairfax and Arlington county firefighters were dispatched to a two-story, single-family house in the 1900 block of Hull Road at approximately 8:57 p.m. yesterday (Wednesday).
Upon arriving at the scene, the units could see fire showing through the house’s roof. They “rapidly” extinguished the fire, and there were no reported civilian or firefighter injuries, according to the FCFRD report.
However, four occupants of the house have been displaced, and the blaze resulted in approximately $90,000 in damages.
FCFRD says that the house’s four occupants were all at home when the fire started:
Four occupants were home at the time of the fire. The occupants heard a loud bang, saw a flash of lightning, and then smelled smoke. All occupants evacuated the home. 9-1-1 was called. Smoke alarms did not sound due to the location of the fire.
Fire Investigators determined that the fire was natural in nature and started on the exterior of the home. The cause of the fire was a lightning strike.
The Fairfax County and Arlington fire departments also responded to a house fire in the 7700 block of Virginia Lane in Falls Church last night. A cause and estimate of damages have not been announced yet, but the blaze did not result in any reported injuries.
— Fairfax County Fire/Rescue (@ffxfirerescue) May 27, 2021
Photo via Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department
Adolescents Drive COVID-19 Vaccination Surge — “More than 52,000 Virginians in the 12-to-15 age group have received their first COVID-19 shot in the nine days since federal regulators authorized use of Pfizer’s vaccine for adolescents. This means 1 out of 9 kids in this age bracket — there are 422,741 in total — are at least partially protected against the coronavirus in the lead-up to schools fully reopening in the fall. [Richmond Times-Dispatch]
Three Displaced by West Falls Church House Fire — Three people were displaced by a house fire in the 7000 block of Ted Drive in West Falls Church that caused approximately $25,000 in damages. Units from Fairfax and Arlington counties arrived at the two-story house at approximately 1:27 a.m. on Sunday (May 23). The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but it is believed to have been accidental. [FCFRD]
Vienna Begins Water Flushing Program — “The Town will begin its annual Fairfax County water main flushing program today. It will run from today till 6/14. Work will not impact traffic or Town services.” [Town of Vienna/Twitter]
Falls Church City Schools Rank Top in State — Falls Church City Public Schools was ranked as the top school district in Virginia by Newsweek magazine, which published rankings this week based on data from the U.S. Department of Education. A 14:1 student-to-teacher ratio and 97% graduation rate were among the factors that distinguished FCCPS. [Falls Church News-Press]
Photo by Joanne Liebig
A house fire on the 9700 block of Meadowlark Road in Vienna displaced seven people on Tuesday (March 16).
Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department units were dispatched to the single-family home at approximately 6:04 p.m. There was “heavy fire and smoke showing” when they arrived on the scene, the FCFRD said in a report released yesterday.
While no civilians were injured, one cat died in the fire, and a firefighter was transported to a local hospital with minor injuries. The firefighter has since been released.
The fire was detected when one of the three people who were in the house at the time smelled smoke. The occupants evacuated and called 9-1-1 after seeing smoke and fire issuing from the basement. Three dogs were also present and “escaped the fire unharmed,” according to the county fire department.
“Fire Investigators determined that the fire was accidental in nature and started in the basement,” the FCFRD said. “The cause of the fire was combustible materials too close to the operating fireplace.”
The fire produced approximately $378,750 in damages. The house’s seven residents are receiving Red Cross assistance after being displaced.
This is the fourth house fire reported in Vienna within the past 10 days.
A house fire on Bowling Green Drive on March 10 and one on Hunt Country Lane in the Wolf Trap area on March 11 each displaced two people. There was also a house fire on Baton Drive in Vienna on Monday (March 15). No people were at home at the time, but neighbors saved a dog that was present.
A combination of strong winds, relatively low humidity, and warming temperatures makes fires more common during this time of the year, according to the Virginia Department of Forestry.
When the National Weather Service issued a Red Flag Warning for Fairfax County on March 11, the Fairfax County fire department warned that cigarettes and other smoking materials discarded in mulch or brush could spark a significant fire.
A house fire on Baton Drive in Vienna yesterday afternoon (Monday) might have turned into a tragedy, if not for the intervention of a few quick-thinking, canine-loving neighbors.
The blaze occurred between 4:30 and 5 p.m. on the 1900 block of Baton Drive, according to the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department. Vienna Volunteer Fire Department Chief John Morrison confirmed to Tysons Reporter that units from his department also responded to the incident.
James Madison High School student Peyton Van Stone had just returned home from walking his family’s dog and was chatting outside with Ann Haines, a neighbor from across the street, when they noticed smoke issuing from a house a few doors down the road.
From there, Peyton says he stopped thinking and just acted.
“Me and [Haines] just ran up to the house to check it out and see what was happening, because it looked like there was a fire, or at least there was a lot of black smoke coming out,” he told Tysons Reporter this morning during a break in his online classes.
After another passerby called 9-1-1, Haines called the house’s resident, who is a friend since they often take their dogs on walks around the same time. She learned that no people were home, but their dog — a Rottweiler named Daisy — was inside in a crate.
Upon finding that the front door was locked, Peyton asked the next-door neighbors if they had a key before going around the back of the house and finding a way inside.
The fire had started outside the house near a detached garage, but it was spreading to the main structure by the time Peyton and Haines dashed upstairs to let Daisy out of her crate. Haines had a leash and was able to lead the dog outside, a feat made easier by Daisy’s familiarity with her.
After that, Peyton says fire trucks arrived to put out the blaze, and they later reunited Daisy with her owners.
“I’m glad everyone was okay,” Peyton said. “…I mean, I would hope someone would do the same for my dog, so I was just looking out for another neighbor, because that’s man’s best friend, a dog.”
While Peyton says he was too caught up in the moment to feel scared, his mother, Rebecca Van Stone, describes the ordeal as “surreal” and “very scary” to watch unfold. She recalls that the fire initially looked small, like smoke from a fire pit, before rapidly growing to the point where she worried it would spread to nearby trees and other houses.
“I just had thoughts of California, of these whole neighborhoods going up in smoke, and you could hear the crackling of fire,” Van Stone said.
Van Stone added that she’s proud of her son and Haines for acting quickly to help their neighbors. She was also impressed by the fire department’s response.
“They were very quick and efficient, I have to say, to save this woman’s house,” she said. “If it wasn’t for how quick they responded, the whole house would’ve been up in flames.”
According to Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department spokesperson Ashley Hildebrandt, investigators determined that the fire was accidental in nature, sparked by spontaneous combustion from recently added mulch.
After starting in a mulch bed, the fire spread to the detached garage and the main house but was largely confined to the exterior of the building. It caused $25,000 in damages, but people and animals all got through the incident unscathed.
“We all made sure the owners weren’t home. To know they were safe was the biggest thing,” Haines said. “Then, we knew we could focus on Daisy.”
Photos by Rebecca Van Stone
(Updated at 9:20 a.m.) Fairfax County Gets New General Registrar — “The Fairfax County Electoral Board appointed Scott O. Konopasek as the county’s new general registrar and director of elections at its March 11, 2020, meeting. He will lead the Fairfax County Office of Elections following the retirement of the current registrar Gary Scott who has worked in the office for the past 24 years. Konopasek’s tentative starting date is April 19.” [Fairfax County Government]
Metrobus to Expand Service Starting March 14 — Metro will increase bus service to 80% of pre-pandemic levels starting next week to accommodate increased ridership demand. Some routes, including Route 28A between the Tysons and King Street-Old Town Metro stations, will have service completely restored to pre-pandemic levels, while others will get supplemental buses or have weekend service restored. [WMATA]
Tysons One East Developer Joins Expansion of The Boro — The D.C. developer Akridge has partnered with The Meridian Group on its plans to expand The Boro in Tysons with additional mixed-use development. Akridge is also behind the Tysons One East tower that Fairfax County approved last year for Old Meadow Road near the McLean Metro station. [Bisnow]
House Fire in Vienna Extinguished — “Units on scene of a house fire in the 10400 block of Hunt Country Lane. First arriving reported smoke showing from two story home. Small fire located and extinguished. All occupants safe. Crews checking for extension.” [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department/Twitter]
McLean Student Wins State Journalism Competition — “McLean High School senior Marina Qu has been named the 2021 Virginia Journalist of the Year by the Virginia Association of Journalism Teachers and Advisers. Qu serves as editor-in-chief of The Highlander newsmagazine and The Tartan literary magazine; she has been on both publications’ staff for three years.” [FCPS]
FEMA Gives Virginia Funding for COVID-19 Vaccinations — “The Federal Emergency Management Agency awarded $38.6 million in funding to support COVID-19 vaccination efforts in Virginia. A grant of $1,814,688 will be used to pay for staff needed to administer vaccines, while a grant of $36,750,003 has been made available to establish a number of mobile vaccine sites across the state.” [Patch]
Vienna Decks Out “Love” Sign for St. Patrick’s Day — “Friends of the Washington & Old Dominion Trail Trail Patrol volunteer was kind enough to pose for this. #LOVEViennaVA sign has been decorated for St. Patrick’s Day, so snap away #spring #March.” [Town of Vienna/Twitter]
Staff photo by Jay Westcott
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.
A house fire in Vienna that killed a woman and two cats was caused by smoking in bed, the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department reported this afternoon.
The county’s medical examiner identified the victim as 80-year-old Mae Woods and determined that the fire was accidental in nature.
The fire occurred early in the morning of Jan. 12, drawing first responders from Fairfax County and police officers with the Town of Vienna to the 900 block of Lauren Lane SE.
The fire caused $374,075 in damages, according to the FCFRD.
UPDATE- The Medical Examiner has identified the victim in the fatal house fire that occurred 1/12/21 in the 900 block of Lauren Lane SE, in Vienna, as Mae Woods, 80. Fire accidental in nature. Cause: Smoking in Bed. Damages: $374,075. #FCFRD @VPDVA @TownofViennaVA pic.twitter.com/FGyEv1UO1z
— Fairfax County Fire/Rescue (@ffxfirerescue) January 21, 2021