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by Dave Emke — August 21, 2017 at 11:30 am 0

(This article was updated at about 4:15 p.m. after Fairfax County Fire and Rescue provided a press release on the incident.)

Work is continuing as usual today at Bechtel (12011 Sunset Hills Road) after a Sunday fire on the building’s 11th floor.

Affected employees remain at work Monday but have been moved to other areas of the building, said Iva Zagar, Bechtel spokesperson.

“[Our facilities team] has been really helpful to the people who have been affected, to point them in the right direction,” she said. “I haven’t heard that anybody can’t do work, so everything is smooth this morning.”

The two-alarm fire before 8 a.m. Sunday at the One Reston Overlook building was electrical in nature, said Bill Delaney, Fairfax County Fire and Rescue public information officer. It involved a junction box around a set of work stations, he said, but how the box failed remains under investigation.

“They know it started there, but they’re still trying to figure out exactly what occurred,” Delaney said.

A restoration crew is at the site Monday working to clean up damage caused by the flames and accompanying smoke. According to Fairfax County Fire and Rescue, damages from the fire are estimated at about $40,000. About 20 employees were working in the building at the time of the blaze; however, no one was reported injured.

“The good news is, the fire sprinklers did their job — they were able to contain the fire,” Delaney said. “Then our folks got there and were able to put the remainder of the fire out, but it did generate a good deal of smoke, and there was some damage as well from the actual flames.”

Light smoke damage was also reported in the 12th floor, according to Fairfax County Fire and Rescue.

Bechtel is the largest construction and civil engineering company in the United States, and is one of the largest privately owned companies in the nation. Its Reston location is its nuclear, security and environmental business office.

by Dave Emke — August 20, 2017 at 10:15 am 1 Comment

A two-alarm fire Sunday morning on the 11th floor of a building in the 12000 block of Sunset Hills Road has been contained, officials say.

The fire started in a cubicle, Deputy Chief Dan Shaw said.

“Upon arrival, [firefighters] found a working fire on the 11th floor,” he said. “The fire was being contained by a sprinkler system that had successfully activated.”

Units from Fairfax County Fire and Rescue stations 4 and 36 responded. The second alarm was sounded for resources, Shaw said.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation. We will provide more information when it becomes available.

by Dave Emke — August 1, 2017 at 9:00 am 2 Comments

Live Music for National Night Out — Tonight’s National Night Out activities at Lake Anne Plaza will include an acoustic performance by Alex Perez at 5:30 p.m., a DJ and the Emotion Dance and Fitness Studio from 6-8 p.m., and an 8 p.m. show from Cinema Hearts. There will also be kids’ activities and BOGO Krazy Kustard Shakes at Kustard & Co. (1631 Washington Plaza N.). [Press Release]

State of Environment Report OK’d by RA Board — The summary, produced by Reston Association’s Environmental Advisory Committee, is part of a new effort to publish an annual report on the state and management of the environment in Reston. The working group, which is comprised of nine members, spent over 1,000 combined volunteer hours compiling data. [Reston Association]

Best Ice Cream Sandwiches in DC Area — In its list of the top gooey goodies in the region, Washingtonian magazine has a recommendation for those going to Ted’s Bulletin (11948 Market St.): ask for an ice cream sandwich made with their housemade pop-tarts. [Washingtonian]

Registration Begins Today for Fall Parks Programs — Classes at Fairfax County parks, available in numerous recreational categories, begin Sept. 5. [Fairfax County Park Authority]

Is Your Pet Prepared? — Fairfax County officials want to make sure residents are not only thinking about emergency preparedness plans for the family, but for pets as well. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue]

by Dave Emke — July 28, 2017 at 9:00 am 10 Comments

‘Turn Around, Don’t Drown’ — With heavy rains expected today and Saturday, the possibility of flash flooding exists. County officials are reminding residents that cars should not be driven through flooded roadways. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue]

Police Seek Suspect in Vienna Stabbing — Fairfax County Police have been searching since Thursday morning for the suspect in a stabbing that took place near the Vienna Metro station. The victim suffered non-life-threatening injuries. The suspect is a male of unknown race, about 5 feet 7 inches tall, with a medium build, and a light- to medium-brown complexion. He was wearing a black, hooded shirt pulled over his head. [Fairfax County Police Department]

Deadline for Cardboard Boat Registration Nears — The first Lake Anne Cardboard Boat Regatta is coming up Aug. 12, and the last day to get a boat registered for the event is Tuesday. [Reston Museum]

New Name Coming for J.E.B. Stuart High — By 2019, the Falls Church school named after a Confederate general will have its name changed. The Fairfax County School Board voted last night to make it happen. [NBC Washington]

Connolly: Trump’s Boy Scout Speech Shameful — In a letter to the national president of the Boy Scouts of America, Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) says the BSA should denounce the speech President Trump gave recently at the National Scout Jamboree. Connolly says Trump’s politicized rhetoric “directly contradicted the spirit of Scouting and the tenets of Boy Scout Law.” [The Hill]

Synthetic Soccer Field Coming to Great Falls — The $1.3 million project at Great Falls Nike Park (1089 Utterback Store Road) includes the conversion of an existing grass field to a synthetic turf field, a trail, storm drainage facilities, landscaping, field lighting and related improvements. [Fairfax County Park Authority]

by Dave Emke — July 11, 2017 at 4:00 pm 1 Comment

Phones get jammed during emergency situations.

It’s scary and frustrating for people trying to get in touch with loved ones — but for first responders trying to communicate with each other, it’s downright dangerous.

Tuesday, Virginia became the first state to try to amend that situation by joining the FirstNet communications network. Being developed by AT&T, it is a secured broadband network that provides fast and reliable interoperability for first responders.

“You cannot ask men and women to put on that uniform, to put their lives on the line, and not give them the tools they need to keep themselves safe,” said Gov. Terry McAuliffe during a ceremony Tuesday at FirstNet headquarters on Sunrise Valley Drive in Reston. “Today, we’re giving all those first responders the tools they need to be safe.”

McAuliffe was joined at the ceremony by fire and police chiefs from across Fairfax County, as well as by representatives of FirstNet and AT&T. T.J. Kennedy, president of FirstNet, said the network’s capacity will be built out over the next few months to allow non-AT&T users to join FirstNet as well.

According to the FirstNet website:

The FirstNet network grew out of and addresses a 9/11 Commission recommendation calling for interoperable communications for all U.S. first responders. With the FirstNet network, first responders will have access to fast, highly secure and reliable communications whenever they need them. This will help first responders stay safe while they help others during both day-to-day operations and disaster response and recovery, and when securing large events.

Richard Bowers, chief of Fairfax County Fire and Rescue, said he is proud that Virginia is the first state to be “first in, all in, to opt in” to the network.

“In the past, first responders were not able to communicate over the commercial wireless networks during significant incidents as the networks became congested and overwhelmed,” Bowers said. “As a responder to 9/11, along with many of my other colleagues that are here today… we had that very problem.”

First responders in the FirstNet network will have special SIM cards in their cellphones that will allow them to stay connected on their own dedicated system. Bowers said the network represents one of the most important transformational changes in public safety communications in decades.

“FirstNet will enhance services and save lives of our citizens and first responders,” he said. “What a key point in all of today’s information that’s being shared.”

McAuliffe, who is chair of the National Governors Association, said he is hopeful many other states will soon join the network as well.

“I do hope that my fellow governors take heed,” he said. “Leaving here today, if something were to happen, I now in my conscience know that we have done everything we possibly can to keep our first responders safe.”

by Kalina Newman — June 30, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

Weather Report for Holiday Weekend  This Saturday, expect a high near 90 degrees, but a chance of afternoon thunderstorms might impact projected fireworks shows in the area. Sunday, Monday and Tuesday will also have highs in the low 90s, but there’s a chance of rain on the Fourth. [The Weather Channel]

Heavy Congestion Projected on Holiday Weekend  According to the Virginia Department of Transportation’s interactive traffic trends map, expect major traffic jams along Interstate 95 on Sunday as people travel for the holiday. [VDOT]

Residents Reminded to Be Safe With Fireworks  Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them, never have any portion of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse, never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not fully functioned, and never point or throw fireworks at another person. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue]

New Laws Take Effect Tomorrow — Take a look at some of the new legislation that will go into effect July 1, including changes to rules about absentee voting, concealed carry permits and more. [Fairfax County]

Toll Road Ramp Work Starts After Holiday  Make sure to reevaluate the morning commute starting next next Friday. The ramp from the eastbound Dulles Toll Road to the Fairfax County Parkway will be diverted through the Herndon-Monroe Park and Ride parking lot, starting next Thursday night and lasting “through 2017.” [Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project]

Local Artist Wins Tröegs Contest — Marni Manning’s “Renaissance of Beer” painting was the big winner in the Pennsylvania craft beer company’s recent art contest. [Tröegs]

Herndon Man Admits to Bank Robberies — Bruce Wayne Higgins robbed four banks in Maryland and New Jersey last December. [WTOP]

by Dave Emke — June 22, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

Folk Music Tonight at Lake Anne — The “Take A Break” concert series at Lake Anne Plaza will continue tonight with a performance by contemporary folk artists Sweater Set. [Lake Anne Plaza]

Car Hits Pole in Reston — A Wednesday evening crash on Lawyers Road at Soapstone Drive took out power and closed the road. [Fairfax County Police Department]

Fireworks Safety Urged — Fireworks can turn a holiday into a tragedy within seconds when illegal and dangerous fireworks are being used. Fire officials have released a video to promote fireworks safety this July Fourth. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue/YouTube]

Shared-Use Path Planned — A meeting June 29 will discuss a proposed path from the future Innovation Station Metro station kiss-and-ride on the north side of the Dulles Toll Road. [Fairfax County Department of Transportation]

Photo via @butler_law on Twitter

by Dave Emke — June 12, 2017 at 9:00 am 7 Comments

Heat Wave Continues — It was hot over the weekend and high temperatures are expected to get into the 90s again for the next couple days. Fairfax County wants residents to be aware of the dangers of extreme heat. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue/Fairfax County Emergency Information]

Volunteers Still Needed for ‘Taste’ — Organizers of the Taste of Reston, scheduled for this weekend at Reston Town Center, say they are still in need of some volunteers for Friday and Saturday night shifts. [Taste of Reston]

Utility Work Starts Tomorrow Night — Crews will be doing utility relocation work at the main entrance to the Herndon-Monroe Park and Ride, located at the intersection of Sunrise Valley Drive and Roark Street. The work is expected to be take about three weeks. [Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project]

Park Authority Unveils Web Feature — Fairfax County parks including nearby Frying Pan Farm Park and Riverbend Park are part of a new interactive webpage that includes photos, videos and more. [Fairfax County Park Authority]

by Dave Emke — June 7, 2017 at 5:00 pm 3 Comments

(Note: This is an update to a story that appeared Monday on Reston Now.)

Hoarding at a home in South Reston exacerbated a fire over the weekend, Fairfax County Fire and Rescue says.

The fire at 2288 Dosinia Court started just before 4:30 a.m. Saturday. Fire officials say the blaze was the “result of the ignition of cooking oil spilled on the propane burner in use inside of the garage,” and it “quickly spread to nearby cardboard boxes.”

A fire department press release says “hoarding conditions found on all levels of the home” hindered efforts to put out the fire. A neighbor told Reston Now on Monday that she believed rooms in the home were being rented out and there were sometimes as many as a dozen cars in the cul-de-sac. A Google Street View image of the address, taken in September 2014, shows six cars outside the home.

According to a Fairfax County Fire and Rescue press release:

“The fire was discovered by one of the occupants who was cooking on a propane fueled burner in the garage. She alerted the remaining sleeping occupants, exited the structure, and called 911. All other occupants safely evacuated the home prior to fire department arrival. The home was equipped with one battery operated smoke alarm on each level. All of the smoke alarms, except the one in the basement, were found to be disabled (battery removed).”

One occupant was transported to an area hospital for non-life-threatening injuries, and no firefighters were injured. Red Cross assistance was offered to the residents, but it was declined.

Damages as a result of the fire were estimated to be approximately $120,000.

by Dave Emke — June 7, 2017 at 8:45 am 0

(This article was updated at 1:45 p.m. after additional information was provided by Fairfax County Fire & Rescue.) 

A firefighter battling a townhouse blaze at Lake Anne early Wednesday morning is OK after falling through a collapsed floor.

Crews responded to the scene in the 1600 block of Greenbriar Court at approximately 5:07 a.m., where a three-story unit had fire showing from the rear. After an aggressive 20 minutes, the fire was brought under control, and no extension was found.

Via Twitter, Fairfax County Fire and Rescue reported one firefighter suffered a non-life-threatening injury. The firefighter, who was examined at the hospital for minor injuries and has since been released, fell through a floor while working the incident. One adult male and one adult female were displaced as a result of the fire.

Fairfax Fire and Rescue reported the cause of the fire to be accidental, from a junction box supplying electrical power to a recessed light above the basement ceiling.

Damages from the fire are estimated to cost about $125,000.

Photos courtesy Suzanne Zurn and Fairfax County Fire & Rescue 

by Dave Emke — June 5, 2017 at 9:00 am 9 Comments

Expanded Free Parking Starts at RTC — As of today, garage parking at Reston Town Center is free for the first hour before 5 p.m., after which time it becomes free until 3:30 a.m. [Reston Now]

Mullins Memorial Details Released — A memorial service for former Fairfax County GOP chair and Republican Party of Virginia chair Pat Mullins, who died May 28, will be held June 21 at McLean Bible Church (8925 Leesburg Pike, Vienna). [Bearing Drift]

Fire Station 39 Rescues Stuck Pup — A crew from the North Point Station (1117 Reston Ave.) responded to a residence in Great Falls recently, where they tracked down and rescued a 60-pound pet dog that had become trapped under the home. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue]

Human Trafficking Awareness Walk Held — The Just Ask Prevention Project, which was created by detectives from the Fairfax County Police Department, hosted its first awareness event Saturday at the county government center. The nonprofit’s goal is to bring together county agencies, schools and community leaders to educate and raise awareness about human trafficking in Northern Virginia. [WTOP]

by Dave Emke — June 2, 2017 at 9:00 am 42 Comments

New Schools Superintendent Tabbed — Dr. Scott Brabrand, the superintendent of Lynchburg City Schools, has been chosen as the finalist to become the new superintendent of Fairfax County Public Schools. Brabrand previously worked at FCPS in numerous positions, including assistant superintendent. The school board will give its final decision on the hiring June 8. [Fairfax County Public Schools]

Neurologist Charged with Distributing Pills — Ishtiaq Ahmad was arrested in Manassas earlier this week following a six-month investigation by the Prince William-Manassas-Manassas Park Narcotics Task Force. Ahmad, who also practices in Reston, is charged with distributing pain pills without performing medical exams. [Inside NoVa]

Details on Pedestrian Lighting Group Plan — In its most recent “Reston Today” video dispatch, Reston Association spotlights the work being done by the volunteer group to develop a plan to increase safety for walkers and bikers. [Reston Association/YouTube]

Restaurant Thanked by Fire Company — Vapiano (1875 Explorer St.) provided food for firefighters battling a blaze last summer. A-Shift from Station 25 recently presented the restaurant with a token of its appreciation. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue/Instagram]

Police Department Adds Another Former Journalist — Emilie Voss, a former television news anchor in Ohio, has joined the Fairfax County Police Department as the deputy director of the media bureau. Voss joins former WJLA reporter Julie Parker, who is the bureau’s director. [Fairfax County Police Department]

by Dave Emke — June 1, 2017 at 9:00 am 6 Comments

Majority Say They’ll Go to RTC — With our story Wednesday about changes to parking fees at Reston Town Center, we posted a poll asking whether those changes will make readers more likely to visit the Town Center. With nearly 900 votes on the unscientific poll, about two-thirds of responders said they would. [Reston Now]

Herndon Festival Starts Tonight — The 37th annual festival will run tonight through Sunday in downtown Herndon. Several streets, including Elden Street, will be closed throughout the event. Free parking and shuttle buses will be provided to get to the festivities. [Herndon Festival]

Community Center Board Meets Monday — The Reston Community Center Board of Governors will continue the decision-making process regarding the budget outline for FY19, and possible timelines for capital projects including the proposed  renovation of the Terry L. Smith Aquatics Center, Monday at 8 p.m. at RCC (2310 Colts Neck Road). The annual public hearing for programs and budget is slated for Monday, June 19. [Reston Community Center]

Barton Hill Tennis Courts Closed — Reston Association says the courts are being resurfaced, and it is hoped they will be reopened by mid-June. [Reston Association/Twitter]

Halogen Lamp Starts Fire — A blaze earlier this week south of Reston caused about $125,000 in damages after a lamp in the basement ignited nearby combustibles. Two residents of the home have been displaced. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue]

by RestonNow.com — May 31, 2017 at 11:30 am 4 Comments

A Reston woman who sprung to action to save another’s life has been honored by Fairfax County Fire and Rescue.

Jodi Rakoff was recently recognized with a Citizen Lifesaving Award for her actions. She was honored by County Fire Station 25 (Reston), C-Shift, EMS 401, and Battalion Chiefs 401 and 407.

According to information provided by Fairfax County Fire and Rescue, Rakoff jumped in and performed CPR when a woman who was walking in front of her house collapsed.

“Jodi’s quick actions, along with advanced life support care by the personnel from 25-C, resulted in the resuscitation of the patient.”

Rakoff was joined at the ceremony by her husband, Simon, and her mother.

Photos courtesy Fairfax County Fire and Rescue

by Dave Emke — May 15, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

Tenants Unhappy at Cosmopolitan — Residents of the luxury apartment building in Reston Town Center (1855 St. Francis St.) say the property management company is slow to respond to complaints and address safety concerns. They are organizing in the attempt to get the building’s owners to treat them better. [Fairfax County Times]

SLHS Alumnus Named to Virginia High School Hall of Fame — Among the inductees this year is Alan Webb, a 2001 graduate of South Lakes. Webb, who competed in the men’s 1,500-meter competition at the 2004 Summer Olympics, set a new U.S. high school record for the 2,000-meter race while at South Lakes, and was the first high school student to run a sub-4 minute mile in indoor track. In his senior year, he was named High School Athlete of the Year by Track and Field News. [Fairfax County Public Schools]

Great Falls Fire Department Marks 75 Years — A product of civil defense in World War II, the volunteer fire department was founded May 5, 1942. There were 29 founding members, mostly farmers and shopkeepers. Great Falls historian Karen Washburn shares more details about its history in a 4-minute video. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue]

SoccerFest Coming to Lake Fairfax — The tournament, June 24-25, is open to children and adults of all skill levels. Early-bird registration pricing is available through May 26, and registration will close June 16. [Fairfax County Park Authority]

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