Fire Buffs promote the general welfare of the fire and rescue service and protect its heritage and history. Famous Fire Buffs through the years include New York Fire Surgeon Harry Archer, Boston Pops Conductor Arthur Fiedler, New York Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia and - legend has it - President George Washington.

Friday, June 26, 2009


On Aug. 23, 1987, an underground transformer exploded in the parking lot of the Holiday Inn in Rosslyn, ``sending a billowing tower of flames and black smoke high into the air,'' The Washington Post reported. Firefighters expressed concern about exposure to the chemical PCB used in the transformers at the hotel at 1850 Fort Myer Dr.

Thursday, June 25, 2009


Jackson City - a notorious strip once located along the Potomac River, near the current Boundary Channel Drive and Jefferson Davis Highway - was a fire trap.

Nicknamed the ``The Monte Carlo of America,'' the settlement featured all the ingredients for a memorable night on the town - saloons, gambling houses, bordellos, vice dens and a race track.

On July 14, 1902, flames swept a row of card parlors, as The Washington Post reported:

``Fire that originated in a policy shop last night wiped out every gambling house in Jackson City, at the Virginia end of the Long Bridge. (It) was not much of a fire when it started - a bucketful of water would have quenched it - but the habitues were so absorbed at the roulette wheel and faro table that they refused to put cut the blaze.''

District of Columbia firefighters doused the flames, the shops were repaired - and the games returned.

Fire also visited Jackson City on Nov. 30, 1893, and the next day's Washington Post said:

``Monte Carlo, the notorious resort at Jackson City, is in ashes. About 11:30 o'clock last night fire broke out in one of the row of frame buildings occupied by the free and easy, and before the flames could be checked almost the entire row was destroyed. The fire started in James Wells' one-story building on the west side of the road.''

The final fire broke out in 1904 when a band of vigilantes - ``The Good Citizens League'' - cleared out the undesirable elements and set much of Jackson City alight, according to the Arlington County Historical Society.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

LUNA PARK - 1915

On April 19, 1915, fire destroyed the roller coaster at Luna Park, a forgotten amusement park which was located in the vicinity of Glebe Road and Jefferson Davis Highway.

``The origin of the fire is thought to have been from sparks from a blaze in the woods adjoining the park,'' The Washington Post reported. `` The flames spread through the woods, destroying a considerable section. No estimate was placed on the loss.

``The fact that the structure destroyed was isolated from others of the park and the wind blowing away from them in all probability prevented the destruction of every building on the grounds,'' the Post reported.

According to a history of Arlington County, posted on the county's web site:

``This amusement park, located in the area where Glebe Road meets Route 1, was built in 1906 for more than $350,000. It claimed facilities for 3,000 picnickers as well as a large ballroom, restaurant and circus arena.

``Exhibits were housed in large buildings of various styles -- Gothic, Moorish, and Japanese. A 'shoot-the-chutes' with a 350-foot incline was a leading attraction. The park was eventually damaged by fire and dismantled in 1915.''

At that time, the closest fire stations were located in the City of Alexandria and the District of Columbia.