Herndon Fire Causes $6K in Damages — Fairfax County Fire and Rescue units responded to a passerby’s report of a building fire in the 2400 block of Centreville Road around 7:22 a.m. yesterday (Monday). Investigators determined that the fire, which was seen on a countertop, was caused by an electrical event involving a power strip. There were no reported injuries, but the damage was estimated to be $6,000. [Patch]

Police Seek Assistance in Finding Great Falls Burglary Suspects — The Fairfax County Police Department’s Reston Station is seeking to identify two men who reportedly caused more than $20,000 in damage to a house in the 800 block of Hortense Place in Great Falls on June 12. Detectives have not yet determined if the incident is related to incidents involving damage to two homes in the same block on July 12. [Patch]

Virginia to Use COVID-19 Relief Funds for School Ventilation — “Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam wants to allocate $250 million of the state’s federal coronavirus relief money to projects that will improve air quality in public schools. In a statement Monday, the Democratic governor said the state funding would be matched with another $250 million in local funds for an investment that would allow for the completion of nearly all Virginia school divisions’ currently planned projects.” [Associated Press/WTOP]

Reston Hospital Completes First Spinal Implant Using AI and Augmented Reality — “Using Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Augmented Reality (AR), top surgeons at Virginia Spine Institute deliver personalized spinal implants to a 17 year old patient. Spine Surgeons Dr. Ehsan Jazini and Dr. Christopher Good performed the procedure at Reston Hospital on Monday, July 26, 2021.” [Virginia Spine Institute]

Reminder: Weigh In On Future of Reston Parking — “Help us determine the future of parking in Tysons and Reston. We want to hear from residents, commuters, employees and patrons about how you use parking in these areas. Take our managed parking survey, open now through July 31.” [Fairfax County Government/Twitter]

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Morning Notes

Walkers along Lake Anne Canal (via vantagehill/Flickr)

Former Herndon Resident Charged in Old Sex Assaults — “A 48-year-old Winchester man has been charged with six felonies for sexual assaults that occurred between 1999 and 2001. Detectives began their investigation in May after a victim disclosed the unlawful sexual contact occurring in 2001. Detectives determined Rigoberto Garcia Nolasco resided in the 13300 block of Schwenger Place in Herndon where he provided piano lessons to the victim.” [FCPD]

Faulty Wiring Causes Reston Building Fire — The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department responded to a building fire in the 12000 block of Sunset Hills Road early Friday morning (July 23) that started “in the wiring of a small, under the cabinet style refrigeration unit” and caused an estimated $1,000 in damages. The fire was contained by two sprinklers inside the building and quickly extinguished upon firefighters’ arrival. [Patch]

Tenant of Missing Lorton Woman Charged — “Fairfax County police say they have found the body of 72-year-old Emily Lu, 50 days after she disappeared following a trip to a grocery store, and officers have arrested a man who lived with her…Brian George Sayrs, Jr., 25, of Woodbridge, was arrested and faces a charge of second-degree murder, News4’s Shomari Stone was first to report. Sayrs is also charged with felony concealment of a body.” [NBC4]

Learn the History of “Virginia Is for Lovers” — “Perhaps you’ve heard of ‘Virginia is for lovers.’ That is surely one of the most memorable tourism slogans in history, despite the fact that it’s hard to pin down exactly what it means. The slogan debuted in 1969 but our story actually begins a couple of years earlier, when Richmond ad agency Martin & Woltz was invited to pitch for the state’s travel promotion account.” [The Washington Post]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Morning Notes

Heat Turns Up in D.C. Area — Daytime temperatures are expected to stay in the mid-90s for much of this week, with a possible heat index of 100 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit through Thursday (July 1), according the the National Weather Service. Fairfax County says to stay hydrated, remain in shaded or air-conditioned locations as much as possible, and check on neighbors who may be vulnerable to the heat. [Fairfax County Government]

Unattended Candle Ignites Herndon House Fire — A small house fire in the 13000 block of Farthingale Drive in Herndon was started on Friday (June 25) by an unattended lit candle in the bedroom. The blaze was extinguished quickly, but it still displaced three people and resulted in about $20,000 in damages. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department]

Few Restrictions Anticipated for FCPS Fall Return — “Fairfax County Public Schools superintendent Scott Brabrand said he’s ready to get students back in schools, and said he thinks it will be pretty normal as far as precautions go… ‘Our planning assumptions include no social distancing in our classrooms,’ Brabrand said.” [WTOP]

Juneteenth Celebrated at Frying Pan Farm — “The Friends of Frying Pan Farm Park sponsored its inaugural Juneteenth Celebration on June 19 at Frying Pan Spring Meeting House on Centreville Road. While generally not open to the public, the integrity of the historic 230-year-old Meeting House and its adjoining springs, baptismal pond, grounds, and cemetery proved an appropriate location for the celebration.” [Reston Connection]

via vantagehill/Flickr

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Morning Notes

One Life Fitness Workers Put Out Sauna Fire — Fairfax County Fire and Rescue units responded to a “small fire” in the One Life Fitness Reston sauna room yesterday, but maintenance workers put out the blaze before firefighters arrived. An employee told Reston Now that the fire just caused some damage to the wood. It was the first day the sauna had been turned on in more than a year. [Patch]

CVS Allows Walk-in Vaccine Appointments — CVS Health is now offering COVID-19 vaccinations to walk-in appointments and same-day scheduling at all stores in Virginia, joining Giant, which started allowing walk-ins at its pharmacies on Monday (May 3). There are five CVS stores in Reston and three in Herndon. [Patch]

D.C. Judge Vacates National Eviction Moratorium — A D.C. judge ruled that the CDC lacks the authority to institute a nationwide moratorium on housing evictions, but even if the ruling ultimately stands, experts say it likely won’t have an immediate impact on D.C. area tenants. Virginia has a patchwork of protections but no statewide ban.” [DCist]

Air and Space Museum Reopens in Chantilly — Yesterday, the Udvar-Hazy Center became the first Smithsonian museum to open since last fall, when the institution largely shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. New additions include a display commemorating the late Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins and an X-Wing Starfighter from the most recent “Star Wars” movie. [WTOP]

South Lakes Girls’ Basketball Celebrates Recent Success — “#WCW In the past 2 seasons, your Seahawks went a combined 22-1 in Liberty District competition, & won back to back championships for the 1st time since 1985-1986.” [South Lakes Girls Basketball/Twitter]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Roer’s Zoofari (Photo via Roer’s/Facebook)

Roer’s Zoofari has reopened after a fire broke out that killed two beloved giraffes earlier this month.

The zoo at 1228 Hunter Mill Road started welcoming visitors again for walk and drive-through visits on Monday (March 15), according to their Facebook, a week after a fatal barn fire left giraffes Waffles and Belagin dead.

The zoo has posted a remembrance on the website for the two animals.

“Waffles has been the heart of Roer’s Zoofari for 5 years. As we grieve we can look back at his legacy he leaves behind,” it reads in part. “Rest in peace Waffles, you will never be forgotten.”

For Belgian, it notes that he was recently brought to the zoo as a companion for Waffles.

“Tragically his time here was cut short. But in his few weeks at Roer’s Zoofari, he uplifted the spirits of visitors and staff,” the remembrance says. “He helped make Waffles’ last days an absolute joy as they played in the sun.”

Areas, including the barn, remain blocked off as an investigation is still ongoing, zoo owner Vanessa Roer writes Reston Now in an email.

At 5:30 p.m. on March 8, zoo staff was contacted by Fairfax County fire dispatch, according to a statement on the zoo’s website.

Staff arrived and were able to rescue about 20 other animals. They could not reach the giraffes, who were trapped in their stalls in the barn.

The giraffes likely died of smoke inhalation, the statement says.

While no cause has yet to be officially determined, staff believe the fire resulted from a heater that was being used to keep animals warm overnight in the barn during cold temperatures.

About a third of the barn was destroyed.

Additionally, in recent days, a petition has been circulating to shut down the zoo. Currently, there’s about 550 signatures.

It cites the alleged mistreatment of animals and violation of the Animal Welfare Act as reasons. No evidence of such claims is offered.

There have been several notable incidents and controversies over the last decade at the zoo, many of which occurred prior to the current ownership taking over in 2016.

For decades, the zoo near Lake Fairfax was known as “Reston Zoo” but it was sold to Vanessa and Jacob Roer after several high-profile animal cruelty charges. This includes the zoo’s previous director pleaded guilty of drowning an injured wallaby.

Other incidents include improper care provided to a spider monkey and exposing warm-weathered porcupines to cold temperatures.

At the time, Reston Zoo ownership chalked it up to mistakes, keeper error, and bad process.

Reston Now did send the petition to current zoo staff for comment but has yet to hear back as of publication.

Photo via Roer’s/Facebook

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Morning Notes

Fire Watch In Effect — A fire weather watch is in effect today from noon to 5 p.m. The National Weather Service notes that breezy winds, low humidity and dry conditions can cause fires to spread rapidly. [Ready Fairfax]

County 9-1-1 Service Officially Restored — The county’s 9-1-1 line is running smoothly again. Most of the day on Wednesday, call capacity was limited and callers experienced longer wait times. [Fairfax County Government]

The Top Ten Percent — Ten percent of Virginians are officially fully vaccinated and more than two million doses have been administered throughout the state, according to state data. Older adults have the most vaccine doses among age groups. [Reston Patch]

Metro Dodges Service Cuts — The passage of the American Recovery Plan will help Metro avert major service cuts and layoffs. However, the direct impact of the passage of the federal relief package is still unclear. Metro’s Board of Directors chairman notes that it is not yet known how much Metro will receive. [Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Staff at Roer’s Zoofari in Reston say they’re devastated after a barn fire killed the family-run zoo’s only two giraffes on Monday.

Although the blaze was brought under control, Waffles, a seven-year-old giraffe, and his companion, a giraffe that zoo owner Vanessa Roer acquired two weeks ago, were killed in the fire.

Staff at the zoo recently created a memorial outside the entrance of the zoo. People have been leaving flowers and balloons in memory of Waffles, a zoo-goer-favorite. 

According to Roer, 20 other animals were rescued after the blaze destroyed nearly one-third of the barn.

‘Waffles was a favorite with our visitors and our team,’ Roer said. ‘We are heartbroken.’

A spokesperson for the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department told Reston Now that an investigation on the cause of the fire and the extent of damages is underway.

Preliminarily, staff believe that the fire may have been caused by a heater used to keep animals warm in the barn overnight.

The zoo is closed until Friday.

Three macaws were taken to Leesburg Wild Animal Park Monday night after the zoo’s veterinarian ruled out any signs of smoke inhalation. All other animals were relocated inside the zoo.

The current owners took over the zoo, which was formerly known as Reston Zoo, in 2016. The former zoo’s director pleaded guilty to animal cruelty charges.

Photo via Vanessa Roer

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Tuesday Morning Notes

Apartment Fire on Castle Rock Square Under Control — A fire broke out in the bathroom of an apartment building on the 2200 block of Castle Rock Square late yesterday. No injuries were reported. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department]

Hands-free Cell Phone Laws Go Into Effect — Beginning Jan. 1, it is against the law to hold a phone or mobile device while driving. [Fairfax County Police Department]

Local Reston Heroes Who Went Above and Beyond — Three Restonians were honored for being local heroes by Patch readers. They include a member of the Reston Community Center Board, a childcare worker, and the owners of ArtInsights Gallery of Film and Contemporary Art. [Reston Patch]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Several boxes were on fire in the hallway of an apartment building in Herndon on Tuesday morning.

The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department arrived to the building, which is located in the 12900 block of Mansarde Avenue, at around 9 a.m.

The burning boxes, which had activated the building’s sprinkles, were removed from the building before the fire department arrived.

Crews worked to remove some from the first floor of the building. No injuries were reported.

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A townhouse fire on the 13300 block of Apgar Place that started this morning is now under control, according to the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department.

When units got to the scene, smoke was showing from the townhouse unit. The fire was located in the wall and quickly extinguished around 7:46 a.m., the department wrote.

No injuries were reported.

Photo via FCFRD

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Seven residents have been displaced following a house fire on the 1400 block of Bayshire Lane in the Town of Herndon on Oct. 18.

Fire investigators ruled that the fire in the single-family home was caused by an unattended candle. Information about the incident was released today (Monday). The c candle was left burning in the master bathroom,  according to the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department.

Fire and rescue crews from the FCFRD, Loudoun County Fire and Rescue Department and the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Fire and Rescue Department responded to the scene a few minutes before 1:30 a.m. that day.

The incident caused roughly $93,750 in damages. Seven people were at home when the fire began. No injuries were reported.

FCFRD is reminding residents of the following safety tips:

  • Never leave burning candles unattended
  • Keep all combustible materials away from open flames
  • Do not burn candles near windows or doorways
  • Place candles in glass or ceramic containers
  • Place candles on a flat, sturdy non-combustible surface
  • Never leave candles burning when children or pets are present
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A malfunctioning surge protector caused a townhouse fire in the 2400 block of Pyrenees Court in Reston, according to the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department.

Fire investigators determined the fire was accidental in nature.

The incident happened a little before 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday. Smoke alarms alerted two occupants about the fire in the bedroom.

Officials estimate the fire caused $18,750 in damages. No injuries were reported.

Photo via Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department

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A fire broke out at a townhouse on the 2400 block of Pyrenees Court in Reston earlier this afternoon.

According to the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department, crews extinguished the fire by around 2 p.m. today (Tuesday). No injuries were reported.

No other information was immediately available. The cause of the fire is currently unknown.

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A two-story, single-family home in Reston caught fire on Sept. 19, displacing two occupants and leaving approximately $65,500 in damages.

The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department dispatched units to the 11500 block of Greenwich Point Road at 5:17 on Saturday after receiving a report of a house fire.

Witnessing fire on the house’s roof when they arrived on the scene, responders worked to control the fire from the building’s exterior before transitioning inside to extinguish the blaze.

The fire was accidental in nature, resulting from an electrical event that started in the interior wall of a second-floor bedroom, the department reported in a news update on Wednesday.

According to the fire and rescue department, two occupants were home at the time of the fire. They self-evacuated after a neighbor who observed flames on the roof alerted them to the fire, which did not activate smoke alarms due to its location in the house.

No civilian or firefighter injuries have been reported as a result of the fire.

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Fire investigators say that a fire at North Point Village Center last week was caused by a lightning strike.

The June 11 fire was contained to the former location of The Boston Market, which has been vacant since July.

No injuries were reported and no occupants were present during the incident. Fire and rescue crews responded to the scene after a delivery person noticed the flames from the roof at around 3 a.m. that day.

The incident resulted in nearly $75,000 in damages, according to the  Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department.

A fire also occurred on the roofline of the same building in August 2019.

Photos via Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department

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