Alexandria, VA

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.

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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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Alexandria has put another summer work week to rest.

As the City Council enjoys a legislative break, the School Board conducted a virtual meeting to discuss the renaming process for T.C. Williams High School. Superintendent Gregory Hutchings, Jr., and the board advocate a public engagement process that could result in the board voting to change the name this December, followed by a vote on a specific name next spring. A group of community activists, however, believe that the name should be taken off immediately, since ACPS acknowledged Williams was an avowed racist and segregationist.

This week, readers also responded to stories about public safety, local businesses, entertainment, real estate listings and an update on absentee ballot requests.

Not included in this week’s list is Friday’s story about an increased police presence in Old Town after an uptick in violent crime.

What stories impacted you this week? Let us know in the comments.

Here are our top stories this week in Alexandria.

  1. Fire Department Says $1 Million in Damages and 21 People Displaced in West End Fire
  2. Lena’s in Del Ray Applies for Large Second-Floor Expansion and To-Go Alcohol Sales
  3. New Convenience Store ‘Old Town Mini Mart’ Coming to King Street
  4. Police Investigating ‘Shots Fired’ Report in West End
  5. Man Arrested for Forging Over $10,000 in Checks from Alexandria Dentist
  6. Del Ray Shell Station Robbed on Saturday
  7. ACPS Still Cutting Down 150-Year-Old Tree, Preparing for Parker-Gray Stadium Renovation
  8. Drive-In Movies Coming to Alexandria on August 29
  9. Truck Lit on Fire, Stripped of Identification at City Impound Lot
  10. Listing of the Day: 428 N Washington Street
  11. Alexandria Sees Record High Absentee Ballot Requests

Have a safe weekend!

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Alexandria Police are investigating 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 burning of a black four-seat Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck and reported seeing a person jump into a getaway vehicle. Investigators later found that the Silverado had no tags and the VIN plate on the dashboard “appeared to have been removed,” notes a search warrant affidavit.

“The pickup truck sustained heavy fire damage to the passenger compartment,” the affidavit said. “A law enforcement officer witness on scene described hearing a loud whoosh sound and described the fire as immediately engulfing the entire vehicle. The officer then saw a person near the burning vehicle get into the passenger side of another vehicle, which then left the scene at a high rate of speed.”

A suspect description is not available.

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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Morning Notes

AFD Extinguishes Fire on N. West Street — “Engine 205 and surrounding companies made quick work of a small kitchen fire in the 300 Block of N. West Street.” [Twitter]

Health Department Warns Against Misinformation — “Along with our city partners and fantastic Medical Reserve Corps volunteers, we need you, community members, to help share accurate information and dispel the fear that can be seductive and paralyzing.” [Alex Times]

Parkway Classic Postponed — “Considering the current uncertainty and plausibility of continued restrictions on events, we are working closely with our partners on an alternate date for our 36th Annual PNC Parkway Classic originally slated for April 26th.” [PNC Parkway Classic]

West End Fitness Center to Open this Summer — “A dedicated and certified fitness expert will guide you through our workout, which changes daily to keep the body guessing and prevent plateau.” [Alexandria Living]

Alexandria YMCA Suspends Operations — “The YMCA of Metropolitan Washington will suspend operations at all YMCA facilities located in Maryland at 5pm today, Monday, March 16th; and in Northern Virginia and in the District of Columbia at the close of business, Monday, March 16, 2020. At this moment, we plan to reopen all YMCA facilities as soon as it is permitted by the government officials and upheld by the guidance of health organizations.” [YMCA]

Mayor Asks Landlords to Ease Restrictions — “Although it is still a couple of weeks before April rents will be due, I would ask that you consider now what you can do to ease burdens for tenants who will have difficulty paying their next rent because of illness or financial hardship related to ongoing business disruptions and closures.” [Facebook]

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Morning Notes

Questions About Homicide Arrest at T.C. — “Because Aly’s arrest was part of an ongoing criminal investigation, Virginia State Police, the lead law enforcement agency on the case, haven’t released details about his connection to the crime. But some parents and students have sought answers to different questions: Why did the arrest take place at school, and what happened at the school that day?” [Alexandria Times]

Rec Registration Starts Next Week — “Registration for spring and summer classes and activities offered by the City of Alexandria’s Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities will begin at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, March 18 for City residents and Friday, March 20 for nonresidents. Spring and summer registration applies to classes, leagues and activities occurring April through August 2020.” [City of Alexandria]

Controlled Burn Leads to Hazy Sunday — Across much of the D.C. area Sunday afternoon, smoke from a controlled burn at Marine Corps Base Quantico led to temporary hazy conditions outside and a “campfire” smell. [ARLnow]

“Moonlight and Magnolias” at Little Theatre Until March 21 — “It’s Hollywood, 1939. Legendary film producer David O. Selznick is five weeks into shooting ‘Gone with the Wind’ when he realizes the script is awful and the director doesn’t have a clue. He has a few short days to replace them and restart shooting or the production will shut down.” [Gazette]

Nominations Open For Chamber of Commerce’s 40 Under 40 — “The 40 under 40 class celebrate 40 outstanding leaders and innovators who either live or work within the city of Alexandria. The nomination period closes March 13, 2020. Go to www.thechamberalx.com/young-leaders-network.html to nominate a leader for this honor.” [Alexandria Living]

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JUST IN: Car Fire Blocks I-395

Alexandria firefighters are on scene of a car fire on I-395.

The engine of an SUV caught fire in the northbound lanes of the highway, between Seminary Road and King Street. Firefighters are currently working to extinguish the fire.

Two mainline lanes of northbound I-395 are currently blocked. According to scanner traffic, police are currently looking for the driver, who reportedly ran off.

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Morning Notes

T.C. Football Coach Steps Down — “James Longerbeam stepped down as head coach of the T.C. Williams High School football team on Feb. 3. Longerbeam has served as head coach since 2016, when he moved from Panama City, Florida to Alexandria to take the position. He cited his father’s recent passing and his mother’s dementia as reasons for his decision in a Facebook post.” [Alexandria Times]

Local Doctor Helps the Homeless — “Dr. William Mazzella has a message for the homeless living on the streets of Alexandria, Virginia. ‘I have the medicines,’ Mazzella said. ‘I have the bandages, the training, and I’m here to help you if you will have me…’ He has formed a nonprofit called MedStreet, which is accepting donations and seeking volunteers to help continue his work and help more people.” [WTOP]

Old Town Chocolate Shop Reveals Shape Secrets — “The owners of a Northern Virginia chocolate shop are urging customers to be aware of what’s in a box of chocolates before making a purchase this Valentine’s Day. If the customer’s preference is chewy over gooey caramels, it might be wise to consider rectangular-shaped versus square candy from a heart-shaped holiday box… said Robert Ludlow, who co-owns Alexandria, Virginia, shop Fleurir Chocolates.” [WTOP]

Investigators Reveal Massive Fire’s Cause, Cost — The massive fire at the South Alex development along Route 1 “started in the second-floor trash chute of the residential portion of a multi-use complex. The cause of the fire was improperly discarded smoking materials. Damage figures include the total loss of the main buildings under construction, 14 townhouses, and one trailer. The amount also includes damage to five apartment buildings, 14 additional townhouses, four single family homes, 29 vehicles, and multiple pieces of construction equipment. Damage total as a result of the fire is $48,171,075.” [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue]

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Morning Notes

Huge Fire South of Alexandria — “A large fire in Fairfax County destroyed an unfinished development of apartments and retail stores Saturday, shutting down traffic along Route 1 for several hours while firefighters battled the blaze and thick black smoke that could be seen for several miles.” Alexandria firefighters, along with firefighters from other nearby jurisdictions, responded to the scene as mutual aid. [Washington Post, NBC 4, Twitter]

Views of the Fire from Around the City — Smoke from the South Alex fire could be seen from around the city and beyond. Here are some of the views.

T.C. Williams Lights Trial Delayed — “The trial to determine whether Alexandria City Public Schools can add lights to T.C. Williams High School’s new football stadium has been postponed from Feb. 24 to June 8, Lars Liebeler, the attorney for the plaintiffs, said… Residents from six of the neighboring households filed an original complaint in August 2018.” [Alexandria Times]

History of the Oakland Baptist Church — “Longing for their own church, they organized themselves and built Oak Hill Baptist Church in 1888. The men would leave work on their day jobs, go directly to the building site of the church, and start working. They would continue building the church after work on the weekends week after week until the church was finished.” [Zebra]

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Morning Notes

City Writes Off Thousands in Unpaid Taxes — “In the last decade, Alexandria has written off more than $100,000 in uncollected tax balances. The annual write-off happens every November, just as City Council members are appearing with a giant turkey at City Hall to celebrate Thanksgiving.” [Gazette Packet]

Obit for Alexandria Scientist — “In the course of her lifetime, physician and activist Janette Sherman gave voice to countless — and often voiceless — victims of environmental toxins. She died this year on Nov. 7, in Alexandria, at age 89.” [WAMU]

Local Woman Stuck in Apartment — “An Alexandria woman who uses a wheelchair says she’s been stuck in her apartment this Christmas week because her building’s only elevator is broken down. Ami Francisco contacted 7 On Your Side after she says the Mason at Van Dorn apartment complex didn’t take her concerns seriously enough.” [WJLA]

Electrical Fire Costly for Convergence Church — “On October 31, Lisa and her staff faced one of their biggest challenges when an underground fire caused widespread damage to the facility’s electrical system… Convergence will likely not reopen until February. And until issues between the insurance and utility companies are resolved, Convergence has been saddled with over $40,000 in repairs.” [Zebra]

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