Tuesday, December 27, 2005


I had this Washington Post article before Christmas, but have waited until now to post the following excerpt:
A Sept. 11 Tribute Sits in Decay
Settlement to Decide Who Pays for Firehouse's $2.5 Million Repair

Sunday, December 18, 2005

"Arlington County's new fire station on South Hayes Street was supposed to open this year as a state-of-the-art tribute to the firefighters of Engine Company No. 5, the first responders to the fiery scene at the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001.

"Today, the $4.3 million building sits incomplete and nearly abandoned, the construction site shuttered since the general contractor was fired in June. Inside, black mold grows on the walls. Shoddy brickwork on a curved wall above a set of glass windows is visible from the street.

"What went wrong with Fire Station No. 5 -- a messy battle that has included charges and countercharges of malfeasance between Arlington County and Dynasty Construction Inc. -- will probably one day be decided by a judge.

"But for now, Arlington County has a decaying building that may cost as much as $2.5 million to repair and complete, a bill that could be passed on to county taxpayers, pending the outcome of a settlement with the contractor's insurance company.

"Firefighters who have observed the drama say privately that the county has only itself to blame. Records show that when the county awarded the contract to Dynasty in October 2003, officials were deeply enmeshed in a battle with the contractor over the remodeling of the Arlington Arts Center, which has had similar mold problems and years of delays....

"The president of the Bethesda firm, John Barrett III, denied that his company is at fault and said that county workers caused the delays in both projects by failing to get construction permits and other approvals on time....

"The current firehouse -- a low-slung brick building just south of Pentagon City shopping mall -- holds a special place in the hearts of many nearby residents. Locals flocked there in the days after the Sept. 11 attacks, working day and night to organize the massive outpouring of food and donations that streamed in...."
I recall some of the media coverage of that firehouse in the days after 9/11. Calls for a better fire station came from different quarters, and all were in agreement that it was way past time for improvements to the old facility.

In both New York City and here in the Washington, D.C. area, the brave 9/11 firefighters--heroes--responded quickly and without hesitation, despite the possibility, now understood to be remote, of the additional danger from radiation or from biological agents. Arlington County can do better than to allow a delay in the promised tribute to the bravery and sacrifice of Engine Company No. 5. Furthermore, the new fire station is more than a tribute: it is a necessity in growing Arlington County. Shame on the politicians who have allowed and continue to allow the delay in recognizing the 9/11 heroes and in protecting the citizens and the taxpayers!


At 12/27/2005 12:52 PM, Blogger American Crusader said...

Why would the county award a large contract to someone they were already fighting in court? I know that here in New York, there were several firehouse closings after 9/11. Although I voted to reelect Bloomberg, I still think closing firehouses was not the message to send terrorist. Thanks for that blog site.

At 12/27/2005 1:15 PM, Blogger G_in_AL said...

I'd be curious who in the chain of local government has ties to someone connected to Dynasty.

At 12/27/2005 1:27 PM, Blogger Iran Watch said...

G said...

I'd be curious who in the chain of local government has ties to someone connected to Dynasty.

Good point but even if there isn't anybody with ties, shouldn't the local government be held responsible? I know as a taxpayer, I would fight any tax increase to cover their blunder. I know the saying "You can't fight City Hall", but if nothing else you can always vote out those responsible.

At 12/27/2005 4:38 PM, Blogger MissingLink said...

"I'd be curious who in the chain of local government has ties to someone connected to Dynasty."

This was mu first reaction as well.
Why would you give a job to a firm already entangled in aegal battle wih the county?

At 12/27/2005 5:00 PM, Blogger Camerinus said...

What happened to the firemen stationed at that firehouse? Were they redistributed around the county? They place firehouses strategically so that every area has at least some level of fire protection.
Those living near that firehouse better make sure their homeowners protection is paid up.

At 12/27/2005 5:11 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

For those interested:
The last few lines from the cited article:
[County Manager] Carlee told the board this year that there were "lessons learned" from the situation.

"We know what we've got to do is to pay closer attention to the exact wording and detail of our contracts . . . what we expect of our architects and the quality of plans and close supervision of the projects," Carlee said. "We try and learn from each of them, but in the end, though, you can't be guaranteed you won't get a bad contractor."

At 12/27/2005 5:13 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

What happened to the firemen stationed at that firehouse?

Good question! As far as I know, they are still operating out of the old firehouse. It's a pathetic facility, from what I can glean.

At 12/27/2005 5:15 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

I'd be curious who in the chain of local government has ties to someone connected to Dynasty.

I haven't found a connection, but as I'm not a resident of Arlington County, I don't know all the ins and outs there. Experience tells me, however, that somebody is getting a rake-off. Typically, builders and developers have family or friend connections with the Counties around here.

At 12/27/2005 5:16 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

Iran Watch,
We don't seem to have many candidates of integrity at the local level. Such has been the case as long as I've been a voter.

At 12/27/2005 5:19 PM, Blogger G_in_AL said...

I'd suspect something along the lines of the "6 degrees of seperation" style connection. A guy at Dynasty knows a guy at at company X that makes the briks they use who happens to be a big contributor to PAC chairman Joe, who has the right ear of State Congressman Bob, who leaned on the committee to get them awarded another contract.

That way, no one goes down for racketeering and/or misconduct... pathetic.

At 12/28/2005 7:07 AM, Blogger beakerkin said...

Firemen ceased to be heroes when they booed Hilary Clinton in NYC. They are heroes to everyone except the far left crowd. It would be appropriate if the next time a building was on fire far left types could wait for a "village" and the rest of us get the brave people we admire.

At 12/28/2005 12:57 PM, Blogger Mr. Ducky said...

Interesting story.... goes to demonstrate that mold outbreaks are a larger economic threat to Americans than the possibility of "biological attack" from ragheads.

At 12/28/2005 7:02 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

Seems to me that 9/11 presented a pretty huge economic cost--not to mention the environmental damage to NYC.

Just because a bio attack hasn't yet happened (Never did get to the bottom of the 2001 anthrax incidents, though) doesn't mean that such an attack won't occur. Bio agents are, however, usually destroyed by the great heat generated by burning jet fuel. Radiation is a different matter, I think.

Of course, the counties in the D.C. area waste money like I've never seen. We call the Fairfax County Government Center "The Taj Mahal." Why our supervisors should have such a luxurious facility--complete with marble pillars and a $30,000 surface for the supervisors to gather around--is beyond me. The Fairfax Taj Mahal is the second "modern" governmental center built in my lifetime. The first one, The Massey Building, looked great from the outside. But the heating system was a disaster (Your feet froze and your head roasted), and when the sun hit those mirrored windows which covered the entire outside of the high-rise building, the reflection blinded drivers for miles around.

At 12/28/2005 8:32 PM, Blogger Warren said...

Ah, the great depth of intellect of the duck, (rolls eyes).

Reads the post and all he gets out of it is mold and raghead.

Sounds like his last surgery to me!

Here's a good one!

The County I live in just finished a $35 million, 512-bed jail.

It was built because, supposedly, the old jail was too crowded.

Why was it too crowded with 330 inmates? Because we were warehousing prisoners from other jails and prisons. Why are we warehousing prisoners from other jails and prisons?

Well, its awfully strange that, the sheriff of Vangerburgh County gets paid for warehousing these prisoners, as well as his own prisoners. He gets to keep, (personally), all of those funds not spent on prisoners, Indiana law.

The highest paid public official in "Indiana", isn't the governor, it's the sheriff of Vanderburgh County!

Dear old Brad, (the sheriff), is also warming up for a congressional run against Congressman John Hostettler.

Does this stink to high heaven or what!

At 12/28/2005 8:55 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

County governments are notoriously corrupt, I think. As my father used to say of this county, "Somebody's getting a rake-off." That statement particularly applied to the Planning Commission and the Zoning Board.

And Vangerburgh County will raise real-estate taxes to pay for the new jail and to line the sheriff's pockets, right?

Yes, it does stink!

We here in Fairfax County have a relatively new jail. We must have a state-of-the-art facility for the likes of the D.C. snipers. And, of course, the snipers, while housed in any Virginia jails, had free access to the Koran.

I guess there are no more little locales like Mayberry. Or if they do exist, I don't know where they are.

Duck sometimes accuses me of looking for "Muslims under the bed." I keep telling him they aren't there as I exercise my Second Amendment rights. Hehehe. And you won't find any mold under my bed, either as I'm highly allergic and have access to Clorox bleach. Hehehe. Cat hair? Well, there's plenty of that with four felines prowling the house.

At 12/30/2005 11:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

For those curious, Fire Station 5 is still working in the Crystal City/Pentagon area, so residents in that area need not worry since they are ready to respond regardless of this dilema. The current station is right next to the "NEW" station in question. My boyfriend is a firefighter for Arlington county and works at Station 5. He was also one of the first units to respond to the Pentagon during 9/11. You're right, it is pathetic that this is happening. How dare Dynasty Construction sue the county on top of all their mistakes. Regardless of who's to blame, what ever happened to work ethic? At least some people still have it and thank God that fire fighters still do.

At 12/30/2005 3:25 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

Thank you for that update about Fire Station No. 5.

My boyfriend is a firefighter for Arlington county and works at Station 5. He was also one of the first units to respond to the Pentagon during 9/11.
Please tell your boyfriend that he is my hero.

Regardless of who's to blame, what ever happened to work ethic? At least some people still have it and thank God that fire fighters still do.
Thank God for the selfless service of firefighters!


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