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, December 17, 2010


On a foggy evening in 1949, a Capital Airlines DC-3 crashed in the Potomac River as it attempted to land at National Airport from the north. Four people died, including the pilot and co-pilot of Flight 500. Sixteen others survived the Dec. 12 crash. Firefighters on the Virginia side of the river could hear their calls for help. Boats from Bolling Air Force Base in Washington located the wreckage and rescued the victims. The Civil Aeronautics Board concluded "the probable cause of this accident was the stalling of the aircraft."

Thursday, December 09, 2010


Aug. 8, 1960
Courtesy of the Falls Church VFD

Monday, November 15, 2010


Photo: Episcopal Cafe

On Oct. 22, 2010, Arlington County sent mutual aid to a two-alarm fire that destroyed the chapel at the Virginia Theological Seminary in the City of Alexandria.

The chapel was built in 1881 and used for daily worship. The cause of the fire was ruled accidental. There were no injuries.

“Because of the safe and effective firefighting operations by Alexandria and our partner jurisdictions, we were able to save the adjacent historic structures as well as a number of irreplaceable religious artifacts,” said Adam Thiel, chief of the Alexandria Fire Department, in a press release.

The initial alarm was received at 3:49 p.m.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Photo: ARL Now web site
On Aug. 29, 2010, the New York City Fire Department presented the Arlington County Fire Department with a steel girder from the ruins of the World Trade Center to commemorate the attack on the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001. The ceremony was held at Fire Station No. 5 in Crystal City, the nearest county fire station to the Pentagon.


Photos: WTOP
On Sept. 18, 2010, firefighters from across the Washington region participated in an emergency exercise at Washington National Airport.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010


Photo: Wikipedia

Photo: Wikipedia
Photo: Wikipedia

Under the weight of snow from a blizzard, the roof of the Knickerbocker Theatre in Washington collapsed on Jan. 28, 1922 - killing 98 people.

More than 100 others were injured at the building at 18th Street and Columbia Road in the Adams Morgan section of the city.

Snow plied high from the two-day storm -  subsequently dubbed  the "Knickerbocker Blizzard" - delayed fire engines.

Hundreds of soldiers and Marines augmented firefighters and police officers in the rescue effort, and Walter Reed Army Hospital sent ambulances.

A dispatch published in The Bridgeport Telegram, a newspaper in Connecticut, reported:

"Firemen worked all night with their picks and shovels. Despairingly they endeavored to remove the concrete of the inner shell of the ceiling roof and walls that had crumbled so suddenly beneath the thousands of pounds of the snow that buried the streets and roofs of the city.

"Soldiers from Fort Myers were detailed with [illegible] torches to cut through the twisted mass of steel and aid in the rescue.
"Inside the buckles walls of the theatre, the early arriving rescuers reported that they were unable to see a single member of the audience when work began. The ceiling had literally engulfed the crowd, variously estimated at between 800 and 1,500 persons.

"The widespread balcony, extending over nearly half of the lower floor of the ill-fated auditorium was sheared away as though by the scythe of death.

"Those who were seated in the balcony were partly protected by the fact that the debris was most under them rather than over them. Peculiarly enough, although the walls are bulged outward, not a window was broken in the theatre.

"The blanket of tragedy, white with the heaviest snowfall in the city’s record since the late ‘60’s, had all fallen straight down.
"Bassett Prudigan, a volunteer rescue worker, late this afternoon uncovered a man who sat bolt upright in his seat. The debris had formed an arch over him. There were no marks on this man to indicate injury. He was dead. His eyes were open.

"His whole appearance was indicative of the fact that he had been gazing at the picture that began the performance and that the shock had killed him." 

The newspaper also reported:

Among the leaders in the work of rescue amid the ruins of the Knickerbocker theatre throughout the night was Representative Alben W. Barkley, Democrat, of the first Kentucky district.
"Those about him, striving frantically to dig through tons of re-enforced concrete, broken steel girders and piles of snow, while piteous cries and shrieks for help came from those pinned beneath the debris, saw in their tall, heavy-set co-worker only a calm deliberate fearless leader.
"They knew not that down in his heart he strove to keep back a conviction born of fear that the next body reached every time would be that of his own fifteen-year-old son, Murrell.
"In the street outside, hysterical, praying, Mrs. Barkley waited – with what emotions only a mother can understand.
"Young Murrell had left for the theatre only half an hour before the roof caved in."

Wednesday, June 02, 2010


Arlington County Fire Department command unit

Vehicle specifications for Arlington County Fire Department command unit, manufacturered by E-One.

Body Model: Rescue/SpecialtyBody
Material: aluminum
Cab Make/Model: Spartan Gladiator E/R#
Cab Seats: 2
Engine Brand/Model/Horsepower: Cummins ISC 350
Transmission Brand/Model: Allison MD 3066P
Generator Make/Capactiy: Onan 35kw PTO, Powertech 20 kw Diesel

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


House Fire - 2009
North Lexington Street

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


On April 24, 2010, the Arlington County Board voted to restore $1.5 million to the county budget - allowing the fire department to continue to operate two heavy rescue companies, according to The Washington Post.

Monday, April 12, 2010


"It is with great sadness, I announce the passing of FRANK R. HIGGINS. Frank passed away April 9, 2010. Frank served the Arlington County Fire Department as a firefighter, the Clarendon Volunteer Fire Department as an Officer and Past President."

Charles Satterfield, President
Clarendon Volunteer Fire Department

Friday, March 05, 2010


On March 4, 2010, the Arlington County Fire Department responded to a shooting at the Pentagon that injured two police officers and led to the fatal wounding of the gunman. Engines 105 and 110, Truck 105, Medics 105, 101 and 110, Battalion 111 and EMS 111 were assigned to the call.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

FORT MYER - 1918

Scene at U.S. Army's Fort Myer in Arlington, Virginia, in 1918.


Photos: Falls Church Volunteer Fire Department
On Nov. 6, 1960, firefighters from Falls Church and Fairfax County battled a fire at the S&H Green Stamps Store on Hillwood Avenue in Falls Church. One man was injured. The fire companies names in the original caption are No. 6 Falls Church, No. 18 Jefferson and No. 10 Bailey's Crossroads.


Photo: Falls Church Volunteer Fire Department
Arlington County Fire Department training bureau van at shopping center on Columbia Pike in 1986.


FLASHBACK - Knickerbocker Storm of January 1922. Theater collapse killed 98 people in Washington, D.C.

Ready to roll for blizzard duty. Apparatus floor at Arlington County Station 106 in Falls Church, including National Guard wrecker at center and the volunteer's venerable Light & Air 103 in the foreground. Also in photo - Truck 106, volunteer ambulance and rescue company.

Apparatus floor at Fairfax County Station 410 in Bailey's Crossroads after roof collapse on Feb. 8, 2010. There were no injuries. The structure gave way at 3 a.m. while the platoon was in the bunk room. Station 410 covers parts of Arlington.

The Washington area was pounded by back-to-back winter storms between Feb. 5 and Feb. 11, 2010, forcing the closure of the federal government, airports, schools and businesses. Commercial power and mass transit were also disrupted.

The snowfall set a seasonal record of 54.9 inches of snow at National Airport in Arlington, according to the National Weather Service. Forecasters compared the snow to the Knickerbocker Storm of 1922, which caused the collapse of a Washington movie house called Crandall's Knickerbocker Theater. That catastrophe killed 98 people and injured 133 others.

During the Blizzard of 2010, the emergency services operated in hazardous conditions, and the National Guard loaned a heavy-duty wrecker to the Arlington County Fire Department. The giant vehicle was assigned to Fire Station 106 in Falls Church.

On Feb. 8, the snowfall caused the collapse of the roof over the apparatus bay of Fire Station 410 in Bailey's Crossroads in Fairfax County. There were no injuries. The structure gave way at 3 a.m. while the platoon was in the bunk room.

According to the Fairfax County Fire Department: "Firefighters were alerted by a loud screeching noise in the apparatus bay. A fire engine, ladder truck, three EMS units, and a utility truck were all extensively damaged. Several personally owned vehicles parked next to the station were totaled."

The Bailey's Crossroads firehouse, which provides service to parts of Arlington County, was built in 1974 and the roof was replaced in 1998.

Fire stations in Annandale and Alexandria also sustained roof damage, according to news reports.

  • BLIZZARD ALERT! Keep neighborhood fire hydrants clear of snow and ice - and easily visible to firefighters in the event of a fire. Adopt a fire plug!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Photo: Photography on the Net
Truck 105 and Engine 105 at Crystal City, Virginia

FOAM 161

Photo: IAFF Local F-253
Foam 161 of the Fort Myer Fire Department is a 2001 E-ONE TITAN. It replaced the foam wagon destroyed at the Pentagon attack on Sept. 11, 2001. Foam 161 is assigned to cover the Pentagon fire station.

1000 Gallon Tank
200 Gallon Foam
500 lbs. of Purple K
1500 GPM
Roof and Bumper Turrets
100' Hose Reel (Water, Foam, Purple K)

FLEET - 1960

Fire department fleet at drill school in 1960.


Operations Chief Scott McKay, a veteran of the Pentagon attack on Sept. 11, 2001 who also led a team of firefighters during the Hurricane Katrina recovery along the Gulf Coast, retired in January 2009. In his farewell message, he wrote: "I wanted to express my gratitude and admiration to all of you. Working alongside some of the finest people I have ever met, this has been one hell of a ride. This fire department has come a long way since I joined in 1980. The level of professionalism at all levels of the organization is what makes this a great place to work."