A set of keys allowing access to secure areas of the Metro system — including tunnels — was stolen from a fire engine on a medical call last week in Arlington, Va.
Sources told News4 the “Metro keys” were stolen from Engine 105, based out of Station 5 on South Hayes Street — the closest station to the Pentagon.
Engine 105 was briefly unattended during a medical call in Crystal City around 6:30 a.m. last Wednesday, sources confirmed. Two men donning all black outfits and masks stole the keys and a Hydra Ram, a forcible entry tool.
Unlike Arlington, some larger cities use a security box to lock up the keys.
In a statement, Metro officials told News4 the theft was immediately reported by Arlington County to Metro Transit Police and that appropriate steps have been taken to ensure that system security is not compromised.
Arlington County Fire Department released the following statement:
“Measures have been taken to prevent it from happening in the future. Details can not be released, for security reasons.”
A six-alarm fire on Labor Day 2013 brought firefighters throughout Northern Virginia and Prince George’s County, Maryland to the 800 block of South Pickett Street in Alexandria. It also forced STATter911.com off his fat butt to drive the 15 minutes to capture the video above. The fire was impacted by a water main break a block away earlier in the day. Toward the end of the video you will see the large amount of hose on the ground on the west side of the fire as part of the relay to bring in water from other mains.
The warehouse fire was reported at about noon on Monday and firefighters contained it by about 4 p.m.
South Van Dorn Street at Edsall Road was closed as firefighters extinguish the blaze.
Chief Fire Marshal Robert Rodriguez with the Alexandria Fire Department says no injuries have been reported.
The fire is about a block away from a water main break at the intersection of South Pickett and South Van Dorn streets. Rodriguez says the water main break is giving firefighters some trouble, but they are working around it.
As many of you know I took off my reporter's hat (and a big one at that, for a big head) after leaving TV news in 2010. But I am going to break my own rules and put it back on for one more exclusive story that has come my way. It is just too damn juicy and ironic not to tell. Here goes:
STATter911.com has learned a man who was the key note speaker at the graduation of Arlington County Fire Department Recruit Class 68 found himself face to face with one of the rookies from that class a little more than two weeks later. The 56-year-old man felt as if he was going to pass out behind the wheel of his vehicle very early Thursday morning and called 911 after pulling over at N. Pershing Drive and N. Wayne Street.
Sources tell STATter911.com the man, who asked the 911 call taker to stay on the line with him until help arrived, remained conscious and was sitting in his vehicle when Rescue 104 and Medic 104 arrived just a few minutes later. One of those who lifted the man into the medic unit was Keith Monroe, a rookie firefighter recently assigned to the station. Monroe was aboard Rescue 104 with Lt. Larry Thomson, Firefighter Paul Marshall and Firefighter Luke Ryan.
Monroe was a member of Recruit Class 68 and had listened to the man on the stretcher provide inspiring words to the recruits. It is unclear what was going through Firefighter Monroe's mind during the call, but the veteran firefighters on the scene, including Tony Westfall and Bobby Beer on Medic 104, weren't all that inspired by the man's now somewhat incoherent babbling and wondered if this was not a case of 911 abuse and the man could have driven himself to the hospital.
The man was transported to Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington County. The hospital is the same location where the graduation for Recruit Class 68 was held. Sources indicate the man was admitted for tests and released Thursday evening.
Despite repeated badgering from STATter911.com, along with a threat to file a FOIA request and take legal action, Arlington County Fire Department officials, citing HIPAA rules, would not officially identify the patient picked up by Medic 104. But numerous sources, both inside and outside the department, while still refusing to provide a name, describe the victim as an overweight former TV news reporter who specialized in fire and EMS issues, including once reporting in the 1990s about a shortage of medic units in Arlington County. We are told the man currently runs a popular fire and EMS oriented website.
Doctors at the hospital, speaking on a condition of anonymity, say while a battery of tests, including extensive blood work, a cardiac stress test, a carotid sonogram, CAT scan and MRI of the brain were all normal, the near syncope and slight chest pain were apparently caused by recently discovered high blood pressure. The doctors believe they know the source of the blood pressure issue.
It's unclear if it is related, but a visitor to Virginia Hospital Center on Thursday tells STATter911.com that hospital security nearly called the Arlington County Police Department to the facility for a domestic situation. According to the witness, a woman was heard numerous times yelling at one of the patients, and we quote, "Get off the damn computer, get off your fat ass and start exercising."
We will provide more details when they become available.
Congratulations to Arlington County Fire Department Assistant Chief Ben Barksdale who will take a job across the Potomac River with the Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department on June 19. Below are emails sent from the chiefs of both departments.
From Chief Jim Schwartz:
This message is to announce that Assistant Chief Ben Barksdale has accepted a position as Lt. Colonel with the Prince Georges County Fire Department. This is a deputy chief position with a larger department that will present new opportunities for Ben. Through years of hard work and by constantly taking on new challenges Ben has prepared himself well. While this is a huge loss for Arlington, it is a great opportunity for Ben and his family.
Ben's last day with Arlington will be in mid-June and we will let you know when the specifics are ironed out. In the meantime please join me in congratulating Chief Barksdale on a major career accomplishment and wish him well in his new endeavor.
Jim Schwartz, Chief
Arlington County Fire Department
From Chief Marc Bashoor:
I am pleased to announce that Benjamin Barksdale will join the Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department as a Lieutenant Colonel, effective June 19, 2011. Ben has worked for the Arlington County Fire Department for 24 years, currently serving as an Assistant Chief. Ben will work with Lieutenant Colonel Angela Peden in Administrative Services, until her retirement effective July 31, 2011.
In the coming weeks, Ben will be meeting with staff and visiting facilities. Please join me welcoming Ben to our Fire/EMS family. Additional information, including a press release, will be forthcoming.
Glenn Usdin’s FireTruckBlog.com takes a look at the impact of the recent East Coast snowstorm. It includes stories from two areas I know well. One is a video from Virginia of Arlington County Fire Department’s Engine 102 trying to deal with an icy hill. The other is from Shohola, Pennsylvania where a pumper ended up in a snow covered ditch. Plus, there is lots of other apparatus news. Check it out.
Police and fire investigators are on the scene of a car explosion in Arlington.
Lt. Ed Hughes with the Arlington County Fire Department tells 9NEWS NOW the explosion occurred in the trunk of a white sedan parked in a residential neighborhood on South 9th Street between Courthouse Road and Veitch Street. The fire department was alerted to the incident around 8:30 A.M.
Lt. Hughes says no one was injured in the blast.
Hughes says they are still in the early stages of the investigation.
Yesterday, hundreds of firefighters, politicians and others gathered around a steel beam at Arlington County (VA) Fire Department Station 5. It came from the rubble of the World Trade Center. It arrived in Arlington on Saturday as part of the Iron and Steel Run put on by the FDNY Fire Family Transport Foundation. The beam was escorted on its trip from Brooklyn by hundreds of motorcyclists.
Click the image for more pictures from ARLnow.com.
“This morning we gather to recognize the bond between Arlington, New York and Shanskville [Pa.],” said Arlington County Fire Chief James Schwartz.
Dozens of New York City and Arlington County firefighters were on hand for the ceremony. Music was provided by a large bagpipe corps and a youth choir from Georgia.
The steel beam — one end twisted and torn with remnants of concrete still attached — was from the North Tower of the World Trade Center, according to Paddy Concannon, president of the FDNY Fire Family Transport Foundation, which arranged the donation.
Following the beam’s unveiling, firefighters took turns reading the names of those who died in the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon.
Two Pentagon Force Protection Agency officers were grazed by bullets last night and returned fire killing the gunman.
Chief Richard Keevill, who leads the security force, says the shooter, “Walked up cool and with no distress. He reached into his pocket which is common for people to get their Pentagon pass out but instead he came out with his gun.”
With no known motive sources say 36-year-old John Patrick Bedell tried to enter the Pentagon and opened fire just outside of the building around 630 Thursday evening. Besides the officers and the suspect no one else was hurt.
Officials say there is no immediate signs of terrorism but they haven’t ruled anything out. Authorities say the shooter said nothing as he got to the first security checkpoint to the Pentagon, and opened fire.
The incident happened at the Pentagon’s Metro entrance facility. Keevill says, “We have layers of security, he never got inside the building to hurt anyone.”
The two officers who were within several feet of the suspect were shot and sustained non-life threatening injuries.
Josh Gross a CBS producer was on his way home on the metro when his train stopped underground at the Pentagon Metro stop.
officers told passengers to stay underground for safety.
Gross says, “Officers told us we could leave at our own risk and as soon as they got to the platform they were forced back down.”
The Pentagon went under lockdown for an hour and a half and metro trains passed through without stopping.
Gross says, “The producer side of me was curious, I was the last person off the train and I took pictures but officers said I couldn’t take pictures and watched me erase them.”
We have been under blizzard conditions through most of the day in the National Capital area. Click above to see live coverage of our latest storm.
STATter911.com programming note: You may have noticed we didn’t send out our Quick Takes news digest for the last two days and we are a little late in providing this one. Coverage of the back-to-back snowstorms for television and dealing with the impact of the storms around the STATter911.com World Headquarters complex left our staff with little time to complete their assignments. We have admonished them and have threatened to cut their ration of gruel if they don’t start carrying their weight around here soon. Also, if you don’t see anything posted at all for a long time it probably means the Verizon FIOS line that has been sitting in the snow covered street in front of the Headquarters building finally broke. It came down Saturday with the power pole.
Baltimore County fire station burns overnight: Firefighters were able to get one of two engines out of the bay around 2:30 this morning when fire broke out at Station 6 in Dundalk. But the brand new Engine 6 is now history, along with two medic units, a brush truck and a Maryland National Guard vehicle. Click here for pictures of the damage and more details.
Another fire station is down for the count. This one in Delaware. Firefighters at Station 26, the Townsend Fire Department in New Castle County, saw the roof sagging. They were able to remove the apparatus before the roof came down. Click the picture from Esteban Parra at The News Journal for more information.
Note – In his noon briefing, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley made mention of concerns of roofs collapsing under the weight of the snow. He cited the brand new fire engine in Baltimore County as being buried under a collapse of a fire station. Yes, that is true. But Governor O’Malley failed to mention the roof came in after the fire started.
Update on Northern Virginia firehouse problems: Even under blizzard conditions, the Fairfax County Fire & Rescue Department is intending to keep an engine and ambulance operating out of Station 410′s parking lot following Monday’s roof collapse that destroyed the firehouse. That duty is being handled by rotating crews. The truck crew from the Bailey’s firehouse is operating out of Station 428 in Seven Corners, which used to be the home of Tower 28. There is also no cover for the fire equipment at Station 408 just down Columbia Pike three miles in Annandale. Part of that roof is sagging. My colleague Greg Guise tells me the firefighters are sleeping in tents inside the bingo hole. And in nearby Alexandria, firefighters moved back into Station 206 Tuesday afternoon after it was closed the day before due to roof concerns. Click here for our previous coverage and inside pictures of the damage at Station 410.
Power company admits they started the fire: Remember the fire I shot on Sunday where electric company crews had just turned back on the juice for the neighborhood when a home started to burn? While I have been unsuccessful, despite repeated attempts and conversations to get the Arlington County Fire Department to provide specifics on how the fire started (all the PIO would tell me is that it was electrical), there is someone taking responsibility for the fire. Dominion Virginia Power spokeswoman LeHa Anderson told me yesterday afternoon a crew on North Lexington Street, working hard to restore electricity, made a very unusual and costly mistake. According to Anderson, they got their wires crossed, accidentally energizing the neutral line. As you can imagine the power company is now working closely with the elderly woman and her daughter who lived in the house. Here is our previous story.
Hose wagon: One-thousand feet of 3-inch hose, a gated wye, and a 24-foot ladder adorn this Maryland National Guard 5-ton truck. This is from an early morning two-alarm fire. The Guard are at many fire stations in the Mid-Atlantic region helping the firefighters get to the emergencies. Picture from the 1229th Transportation Company of the Maryland National Guard.
Controversy over sale of New York firehouse to CNN’s Anderson Cooper: We had previously told you that the historic former quarters of Fire Patrol 2 in Greenwich Village had been sold to the CNN anchor. Now there is concern over what happened to a plaque honoring a patrol member who died on September 11. Click here for the story.
It’s just lunch (or dinner): Yes, it’s February Sweeps in my business. Firegeezer has his own juicy expose on the work of a TV reporter who spent his time checking the eating habits of Boston firefighters. Specifically he reports that they actually use their fire trucks to pick up food for dinner. Shocking. Even Commissioner Roderick Fraser, who has been at odds with the rank and file, found no problem with this practice. Film at 11 (or just click here for Geezer). BTW, on my way to work in the 11:00 AM hour a couple of times I week, I see the same fire companies at the same supermarket. Little did I know I had been passing up a TV exclusive. Clearly, I am just a hack.