On September 6th, 2018, FF/Paramedic Phil Laub, “The Rock,” completed 34 years of service! Phil always took care of people whether they were patients, tenured firefighters or brand new rookies. He didn’t complain, he’d just do what he felt needed to be done, often going above and beyond what was required. He’d pull you aside to give you advice, and antagonize anyone who took themselves too seriously with his unmistakable chuckle. Physically, he’s always been a beast, shaming plenty of members half his age with his strength and stamina. He was the quintessential “Old School” guy always simplifying the situation and bring you back to the basics. Until a couple years ago, he’d routinely pull his “Blackberry” (a folded up paper with his hand drawn calendar) out of his pocket to check his schedule and jot down appointments. “The Rock” has been a friend and mentor to many in the department and will be sorely missed. Congratulations and enjoy your retirement!
On Tuesday September 4th, 2018 at 3:23 pm units from the Fairfax County Fire & Rescue and Arlington County Fire Departments were dispatched to Bluemont Park near the playground for an “injury”. It was reported that a woman and two children were swept off the low-level bridge and into the creek. The caller stated that the woman had been able to get all parties out of the creek. Arriving fire department units found a mother, an infant and a toddler that were wet and had minor scrapes and bruises but were otherwise okay. The patients were warmed and evaluated by Paramedics and an Advanced Paramedic Officer. The mother refused transport to the hospital.
According to the mother, they started across the bridge when the water was not too high. Once they got on the bridge the level rose dramatically. There was a thunderstorm impacting north Arlington but very little precipitation had fallen at this location.
The Park Manager was notified a Park Ranger responded to place caution tape across the bridge.
- Turn Around, Don’t Drown!
- Avoid walking or driving through flood waters.
- Just 6 inches of moving water can knock you down, and 2 feet of water can sweep your
- If there is a chance of flash flooding, move immediately to higher ground. Flash floods
are the #1 cause of weather-related deaths in the US.
On Wednesday, August 29th, 2018 at 6:42 pm, units responded to the 300 block of North Oakland Street for an odor of smoke in the home. Upon arrival Engine 101 found an odor of smoke that the homeowner said was not going away. On investigating the odor, they eventually located a fire burning in the attic space of the home. The ceiling was pulled and the fire was quickly extinguished. Crews located all extension and extinguished all hot spots. Red Cross assisted the home’s occupants. The Fire Marshal determined the cause to be an electrical malfunction and estimated damages at $60,000. No civilian or firefighter injuries were reported.
- Always have working smoke alarms in your home.
- If you smell smoke in your house or feel there may be a fire, call 911. It’s better to call and find nothing or a small fire, than risk waiting an allowing the fire to get bigger and more dangerous.
- Make sure all heating appliances are off before leaving you home.
- Make sure you have working smoke alarms. Not only can they alert you to a fire in your home, they can also alert your neighbors there’s a fire in your home. This enables them to call 911, before the fire has much time to grow.
On Monday, August 27, 2018 at 3:37, units responded to the 4700 block of 20TH RD N, for an activated fire alarm. Upon arrival the building was being evacuated and the fire alarm was sounding. On investigation, Engine 108 found an activated sprinkler head and light smoke and steam in an apartment on the second floor. The sprinkler head had extinguished a fire in the living room area. Crews shut off the sprinkler, and assisted residents below the affected apartment with protecting their property from water damage. The Fire Marshal determined the fire was caused by improperly discarded smoking materials.
- If you’re going to smoke, do so carefully.
- Fully extinguish smoking materials when discarding.
- Clean out ash trays regularly to avoid a build up of combustible materials and possible re-ignition.
- Keep combustible materials away from and out from under ash trays as they may ignite if the ash tray get’s hot.
On Wednesday, August 22, 2018 at 07:14, units responded to 4300 block of Lee Highway for a possible structure fire. Upon arrival Engine 102 found a moderate smoke condition in the involved apartment from a small fire that had been extinguished by the resident. The resident had received burns while putting the fire out, and was treated and transported to the hospital in “Fair” condition for further care. Units ventilated the structure and the fire was deemed to have been started by smoking materials.
- If you’re going to smoke, do so carefully, and be sure to fully extinguish and properly discard of smoking materials.
- If you’re clothes catch fire, stop drop and roll until the flames are extinguished. Running/walking allows the fire on your clothing to grow and risks spreading the fire to other combustible materials you walk on or by.
- When there is a fire in your home, leave your residence closing (unlocked) doors behind you on the way out. When we arrive, we are equipped to safely take care of the situation, it it makes it more difficult if we have to worry about getting occupants out to safety.
Fire Chief James Bonzano worked his last day on Friday August 24th. Chief Bonzano closed out a 34 year career serving the county where he was born.
He joined the Arlington County Fire Department (ACFD) in 1984, and has worked in numerous positions in his three decades with the department, eventually being name Fire Chief in May of 2016. He served and led in nearly every section of the department. Bonzano served as Acting Assistant Chief, South Deputy Chief, Personnel Services Section Chief, and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Battalion Chief. Following the terrorist attack on the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001, he served as the EMS branch director for the emergency response.
Assistant Chief Joseph Reshetar will serve as the Acting Fire Chief while Arlington County continues it’s search for the new Fire Chief.
On May 15, 2018 at 8:45 a.m. Arlington County Fire Department units were dispatched to the 4800 blk of Fairfax Drive for a structure fire in a townhouse. Working smoke alarms in the home alerted neighbors to the fire, and they called 911. The home owner was not home when the fire was discovered, but was outside the residence upon arrival of the responding units. EMS112 arrived on scene and reported flames coming from the kitchen window. Enginge 110 stretched their hose line through the front door and knocked the fire down and contained it to the first floor. There was varied smoke damage in the remainder of the residence. The was no extension into the adjacent unit. No civilian or fire department injuries were reported. The Fire Marshal determined the cause to be accidental, and estimated damages at $160,000.
Arlington County Fire Department wants to remind everyone of the importance of working smoke alarms. This fire could’ve been much worse had the neighbors not heard the early warning from the smoke alarms. Operation Fire Safe puts Arlington County firefighters out in neighborhoods offering home safety checks and installing smoke alarms for residents. If you need us to come and check your smoke alarms or aren’t able to purchase them, give us a call (703-228-4644) and we’ll send some firefighters to your house to assist you.
ACFD units were dispatched at 6:37 a.m. this morning to 820 N. Pollard St. for an activated fire alarm. Engine 102 arrived on scene with smoke showing and a sprinkler activation on the 6th floor. Engine 102 requested an upgraded response for a high rise structure fire. When crews got to the apartment, the fire had been controlled by the sprinkler system. They finished extinguishing the fire and ensured there was no extension. Smoke was then removed from the structure. The apartment resident was transported to the Emergency Room for evaluation for smoke inhalation. No other civilian or firefighter injuries were reported. Residents were allowed to reoccupy the building around 7:30. The response was 15 units including an Engine from Fairfax County. The Fire Marshal determined the cause to be improperly discarded smoking materials. An estimated cost of damages is still being determined.
The Arlington County Fire Department reminds residents to fully extinguish smoking materials and discard them in an appropriate container void of any combustible materials. In this instance, the sprinkler system may have prevented this from becoming much more serious outcome.
Smoking Material Fire Facts
- The risk of dying in a home structure fire caused by smoking materials rises with age.
- One out of four fatal victims of smoking-material fires is not the smoker whose cigarette started the fire.
Smoking Safety Tips
Most structure fires, deaths, and injuries occur related to smoking materials occur in the home. Smoking materials are the leading
cause of fire deaths.
- If you smoke, use only fire-safe cigarettes.
- If you smoke, smoke outside. Most deaths result
from fires that started in living rooms, family rooms
and dens or in bedrooms.
- Keep cigarettes, lighters, matches, and other
smoking materials up high out of the reach of
children, in a locked cabinet.
Put It Out.
- Use a deep, sturdy ashtray. Place it away from
anything that can burn.
- Do not discard cigarettes in vegetation such as
mulch, potted plants or landscaping, peat moss,
dried grasses, leaves or other things that could
- Before you throw away butts and ashes, make sure
they are out, and dousing in water or sand is the
best way to do that.
Arlington, VA. – The Arlington County fire Department will hold a graduation ceremony for Fire/EMS Recruit Class 75 on Friday, April 27, 2018 at 6:00 p.m. at Founders Hall Auditorium, George Mason University, 3351 Fairfax Drive, Arlington, VA 22201.
At 30 members strong, Recruit Class 75 is the largest recruit school in Arlington County Fire Department history, and is expected to have a large impact on our currently short staffed operations division. This ceremony will recognize the members of Recruit Class 75 for their hard work and dedication over the past 28 weeks of Fire and EMS instruction. Recruits were challenged both physically and mentally as they earned certifications for Firefighter I, Firefighter II, Hazmat Operations, Emergency Vehicle Operations, Firefighter Rescue, Basic Emergency Medical Technician (EMT-B) as well as instruction in numerous other applicable topics.
Members of Recruit Class 75, selected by the Fire Training Academy Instructor Cadre, will receive special recognition for:
- Leadership: Awarded to a recruit who showed exceptional leadership among their peers during the recruit school.
- Physical Fitness: Awarded to the recruit who ranked highest in the physical fitness assessments conducted during recruit school.
- Most Improved Physical Fitness: Awarded to the recruit who showed the most improvement in their physical fitness between the initial fitness test conducted at the beginning of school, and the final test held at the end of school.
- Class Valedictorian: Awarded to the member who achieves the highest academic score in the class.
All class members will be sworn in and receive their badges and helmets to mark their transition into the next phase of their career, Probationary Firefighter.
For those who can’t make it, the event will be live streamed on YouTube.