Alexandria, VA

Foul play is not suspected and no injuries reported after a roof fire at a business on Tuesday night in the 5700 block of Edsall Road.

The one-alarm fire was raised at around 8:45 p.m. and was put out within 20 minutes, according to AFD Battalion Chief Chad Lallier.

“It was a small fire on the roof and the fire is still under investigation, but there was no extension to any other property and it  was contained to the roof with minor damage,” Lallier told ALXnow. “We quickly extinguished the fire, which started after a mechanical unit on top of a roof malfunctioned.”

The fire briefly shut down the intersection of Edsall Road and Van Dorn Street, and the roadways have since reopened.

Map via Google Maps

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It was a cold and snowy week in Alexandria.

Our top story this week was on plans to redevelop the GenOn power plant in Old Town North. It looks like deconstruction of the plant will start in 2023 and developers are looking at converting it into an urban, mixed-use property with housing.

The short work week started with news that Alexandria reached 10,000 cases of COVID-19. The latest figures show that there are 10,113 cases and 104 total deaths in the city, according to the Virginia Department of Health. The city’s seven-day moving average is now 35.1 cases.

A 49-year-old homeless woman was found dead in Arlandria on Tuesday morning, and the mayor told us that homelessness is on the rise in the city. ALXnow is following up with the city on the issue.

Tuesday morning also brought news that Alexandria City Councilman Mo Seifeldein abandoned his run for mayor and will not seek reelection to council. Seifeldein was hired as a trial lawyer by the U.S. Department of Labor in Jan. 2020, and while he can finish out his term on council, he can not run unless he files as an independent candidate.

In other election news, the race for city council is starting to get crowded, as Bill Rossello, a co-founder of the Bring Integrity Back to Alexandria Facebook Group, just threw his hat into the ring.

On the vaccine front, the waiting list has surpassed 45,000 and it may be until late summer that the vaccine is widely available in the city. On Thursday, Mayor Justin Wilson also asked the governor to open vaccine eligibility for restaurant, personal care and retail workers.

More than 200 people responded to this week’s poll on power outages. There have been a number of outages over tha last year, and 73% of respondents reported experiencing an outage, while 26% report that their homes haven’t been impacted.

In case you missed them, here are some other important stories this week:

Here are our top stories of the week in Alexandria:

  1. Developers Lay Out Multi-Year Timeline for GenOn Plant Redevelopment
  2. BREAKING: Homeless Woman Found Dead on Mount Vernon Avenue
  3. Alexandria Boxer Troy Isley Goes Pro With Big Fight Next Week
  4. Seifeldein Not Running for Mayor, Leaving Alexandria City Council
  5. ALXnow’s Top Stories this Week in Alexandria
  6. Director of Finance: Alexandria’s Real Estate Assessments Are a ‘Tale of Two Markets’
  7. Local Business Owner Robbed of Car While Pumping Gas at Old Town Gas Station
  8. Torpedo Factory Overhaul Heads to City Council Next Month
  9. Snow: Up to 6 Inches of Snow and Ice Expected in Alexandria
  10. BREAKING: Alexandria Police Investigate Second Car Stolen While Owner Pumps Gas
  11. Local Facebook Watchdog Group Founder Bill Rossello Announces Run for City Council

Have a safe weekend!

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Six people in three rowhouses in Parkfairfax were displaced from their homes Thursday morning after an electrical malfunction in a bathroom exhaust fan, according to the Alexandria Fire Department.

Fire damage was contained to the bathroom of the home, which is the 1600 block of Preston Road. Damage was estimated at $80,000. The rowhouses share walls and neighbors from two other homes were affected by smoke and were displaced.

The smoke alarm in the damaged home went off just after 8 a.m. and a small fire was quickly extinguished, according to Alexandria Fire Department spokesperson Raytevia Evans.

“Six people total were displaced from three of the three units in that row,” Evans told ALXnow. “We asked them if they would like assistance from Red Cross, but they were able to find accommodations on their own.”

Map via Google Maps

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Morning Notes

Beyer Says Images of Capitol Siege Should be Viewed by Everyone — “These images of one of the darkest days in our nation’s history are disturbing. But these things happened, and we cannot erase these events, their causes, or their meaning. Everyone should watch this.” [Twitter]

Pat Malone, Cancer Survivor to ‘Stand Up To Cancer’ for 24 Hours Straight — “Patrick J. ‘Pat’ Malone, a seven-year cancer survivor, and 20-year Air Force veteran will ‘stand up to cancer’ for 24-hours straight, during his Seventh Annual Stand Up To Cancer.” [Zebra]

City Says There Was Error in Vaccine Scheduling — ” AHD has recently identified an internal process error that resulted in several hundred people within the 65-74 age group receiving appointment phone calls out of order. To ensure that no one was skipped due to this error, AHD sent emails for appointment scheduling on Sunday, February 7. Many people who have already scheduled appointments or received vaccines were contacted, and those who received the email unnecessarily should ignore it. The link cannot be used to schedule second doses and it cannot be used by others. As of February 8, AHD has contacted everyone ages 65-74 who pre-registered for their first dose by 7:30 a.m. on January 12.” [City of Alexandria]

South Alex Construction Moving Along One Year After Fire — “One year ago on Monday, a large fire caused $48 million in damages to the South Alex development, which was under construction at the time. Now, developer Combined Properties and architect, Hord Coplan Macht, are getting closer to opening, despite the setback.” [Alexandria Living]

Former Mayor Kerry Donley Endorses Alyia Gaskins for City Council — “I am happy to support Alyia as she launches he campaign for City Council. Alyia has a solid background in public finance and community activism, which will be important as she serves Alexandria on City Council. Alyia represents the enthusiasm of a new age of the Alexandria community which will be important for years to come.” [Twitter]

Today’s Weather — “Partly cloudy skies in the morning will give way to cloudy skies during the afternoon. A few flurries or snow showers possible. High 43F. Winds NNE at 5 to 10 mph… Cloudy with snow (in the evening). Low 32F. Winds light and variable. Chance of snow 80%. Snow accumulating 1 to 3 inches.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Private Piano Teacher — “Old Town Music School, an old fashioned preparatory Music School in Old Town Alexandria for over 20 years, is expanding and hiring a community of professional musicians/teachers who offer a nurturing, positive and personal approach to piano lessons. Students are beginning through advanced intermediate levels. Seeking out-going, motivated and fun teachers to join our faculty.” [Indeed]

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Morning Notes

Photos: Beyer Attends Presidential Inauguration — “It was a thrill for Megan and me to be at the inauguration of Pres. @JoeBiden and Vice Pres. @KamalaHarris.” [Twitter]

Former Beyer Chief Of Staff To Begin Job In Biden Administration — “(Tanya) Bradsher will take on the new role as the senior director for partnerships and global engagement. Previously, she served as the National Security Agency lead for the Biden-Harris Transition Team.” [Patch]

Mayor Tweets Excitement After Biden Inauguration — “‘My whole soul is in it!’ So excited for the era of @JoeBiden & @KamalaHarris to get started. Let’s do this.” [Twitter]

Propane Cylinder Catches Fire in Old Town North — “Units operating in the 600 block of E Abington for a damaged propane cylinder that caught fire earlier this afternoon. Units from station 204 and Hazmat station 209 quickly assessed and handled the incident. No injuries reported. An AFD fire marshal conducted the investigation.” [Twitter]

Free Online Job Training Courses Available — “The SkillUp® Alexandria City & Arlington County initiative is available to help residents take charge of their futures and get back to work. Designed with input from regional employers, the initiative provides recently laid-off workers as well as those who are employed and looking to change or advance in their careers free and unlimited access to more than 5,000 high-quality, Skillsoft online training courses for 180 days; the courses, used by many Fortune 500 companies, are presented in English and Spanish. The initiative enables workers to demonstrate the kind of initiative employers are looking for by upgrading their skills during this challenging time even while most bricks-and-mortar education and training providers remain closed.” [City of Alexandria]

College Loans Available for Immigrants — “Paying for college can be expensive, especially for DACA or TPS recipients, asylum seekers or undocumented. Learn about two renewable scholarship opportunities ranging from $2,000 to $33,000 for eligible immigrant students–first deadline Feb 1.” [Twitter]

Torpedo Factory Artists’ Work To Be Recognized in International Exhibition — “Ruth Gowell and Alison Sigethy are two glass artists who have studios at the Torpedo Factory Art Center. A new museum in St. Petersburg, Florida, Imagine Museum, showcases works made of glass. The work of these two artists has been selected for the museum’s upcoming exhibition, OpART/Glass. The honor is especially significant for two reasons. First, the museum hosts only one exhibition per year. Second, it is open to glass artists from around the world.” [Zebra]

Today’s Weather — “Sun and a few passing clouds (during the day). High 53F. Winds SW at 10 to 15 mph… Clear skies (in the evening). Low 33F. Winds WSW at 5 to 10 mph.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Team Member — “Toastique is a rapidly growing company looking for passionate new talent to help create smoothies, gourmet toast & juice while giving the customers an incredible experience the minute they walk through the door. Employees will be joining a team to attain a fun, clean, fresh environment for a gourmet toast and juice bar in the new SW waterfront area. We are focused on our unique concept that combines great taste, responsibly sourced ingredients, and a welcoming environment.” [Indeed]

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Morning Notes

New Torpedo Factory Art Features Local Waste — “The AlexRenew Wastewater Treatment Facility treats a mix of sewage and storm water. The facility runs the wastewater through a series of settling tanks and treatment processes to remove nutrients before discharging it to tributaries of the Potomac River. The brown-colored media was crowdsourced from thousands of area toilets, according to Len.” [WWD Magazine]

Work Resumes on the Fairfax Building with the Massive Fire — “It’s been 10 months since a devastating fire at the South Alex construction site near Alexandria, Virginia, but the project is back up and running.” [WTOP]

New Cafe Vía Volcán Profiled — “Twenty-plus years after buying a farm in the Volcán Barú area of Panama and a little over one year since they began selling roasted beans, Chris and Janina McCausland have opened a brick-and-mortar store for Vía Volcán Coffee in the Old Town neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia.” [Daily Coffee News]

Officials Celebrate Big Week for Alexandria Affordable Housing — “We broke the ground on the Wesley Housing Waypoint project, bringing 81 units serving 30-60 AMI and… We cut the ribbon on Bloom by Carpenter Shelter & AHDCHousing with a new shelter and 97 units (40-60 AMI)!” [Twitter]

Zebra Profiles Local Jeweler Who Changed Christmas in Old Town — “For 32 years, David Martin has made jewelry sparkle in his Alexandria shop, Gold Works, but his iconic charms aren’t all he has done to beautify our city. Take a walk up King Street at this festive time of year and you’ll see firsthand how Martin has beautified Alexandria.” [Zebra]

Local Nonprofit and VT Alum Build Desks for Students — “Building Momentum, a local “problem solving organization,” has been providing easy-to-assemble desks to Alexandria students since the start of the fall 2020 school year, and now some Virginia Tech alumni have joined the project…” [Alexandria Times]

Staff photo by Jay Westcott

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A candle that fell on a bed has left nine residents and three animals displaced from a West End apartment building.

The Alexandria Fire Department was called on Tuesday night to an apartment building in the 4700 block of West Braddock Road at 10:40 p.m. on Tuesday (Sept. 15), and quickly extinguished a fire in a second floor bedroom.

“The unit where the fire originated was condemned due to fire and water damage, and residents were able to find alternative accommodations,” AFD reported in a news release. “An adjacent unit was also condemned due to water and overhaul damage, and the Red Cross assisted the residents in finding alternative accommodations.”

The fire caused an estimated $75,000 in damage, according to AFD.

Map via Google Maps

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There are no injuries after a two-alarm fire that displaced a family in Old Town early on Wednesday morning (September 16).

Traffic was briefly closed around the three-level home in the 600 block of South St. Asaph Street. Responding units arrived at around 6 a.m. and found the family safely outside their home and saw “heavy fire at the rear of the building near the roofline,” according to Alexandria Fire Department spokeswoman Raytevia Evans.

“Firefighters were unsure if the fire was in the rear or in the attic, so they did a complete 360 and found the fire in a third story addition,” Evans said. “Within 10 minutes crews made entry and completely extinguished the fire. The residents were outside the home when we arrived, and they confirmed that their smoke alarms went off at the time of the incident. “

The home was heavily damaged by smoke and fire, and the roof of one neighboring home was damaged. The family is currently displaced and made their own arrangements, Evans said.

Fire investigators are at the scene determining the cause and origin of the fire.

NOTIFICATION :: The 600 block of South St. Asaph Street is closed due to a structure fire. Several intersections are…

Posted by Police Department, City of Alexandria, Virginia on Wednesday, September 16, 2020

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The Alexandria Fire Department is investigating a fire that affected the electrical systems in a high rise apartment building in the 200 block of South Whiting Street in the West End.

Fire officials responded to reports of smoke coming from the basement of the 10-story building, and the fire was extinguished within minutes. No one was injured, according to Alexandria Fire Department spokeswoman Raytevia Evans.

“The building is on fire watch until the power is restored,” Evans told ALXnow. “No one has been displaced from their homes.”

The building is located near Stevenson Avenue and South Van Dorn Street and is near a number of other apartment buildings and businesses.

Map via Google Maps

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The Alexandria Fire Department has identified a suspect behind the intentional burning of a truck in the city’s impound lot (5249 Eisenhower Avenue) on July 30.

An Arlington County police officer witnessed the incident, and reported seeing two cars enter the north parking lot of 3575 Potomac Avenue.

“Approximately one to two minutes later, the law enforcement officer witness heard a loud ‘whoosh’ sound and observed (the suspect’s) vehicle being on fire and fully engulfed in flames,” notes a search warrant affidavit. “The witness then observed an individual enter a passenger side door of the second vehicle and the second vehicle left the scene.”

Fire officials determined after extinguishing the blaze that the 2016 black four-seat Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck was missing its VIN plate on the dashboard and license plates.

The suspect reported the missing truck to his insurance company on August 4, and said it was stolen in Wilmington, North Carolina. He told law enforcement that he’d last seen his truck on August 2 and that it was stolen on August 3, according to the affidavit.

No charges have been filed against the suspect, and the fire department says this is an ongoing investigation.

According to the city, the impound lot processes about 3,000 vehicles every year. It is located near the Van Dorn Metro station, a number of businesses and apartments.

Map via Google Maps

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