<b>Fire Destroys South Glebe Home</b>

Arlington firefighters responded to a three-alarm blaze last Wednesday in the 3100 block of South Glebe Road. Also responding were units from Alexandria, Fairfax and the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority. The fire destroyed one house and burned part of one other.

Firefighters responded to the call about 9 p.m. on Aug. 14, and were on the scene for three hours. They evacuated three homes in the wooded, residential neighborhood. A total of eight fire trucks responded to the call, along with volunteers from the local Red Cross.

The Arlington Fire Department did not respond to calls seeking comment for this story.

The blaze began in one home, and spread briefly to a neighboring home, but only displaced one neighbor. "The homeowner was building an extension, and he heard a pop," said Jenny Brennan, spokeswoman for the Arlington County chapter of the American Red Cross. "The next thing he knew, the whole home was gone."

The occupants of homes on the block got out safely on their own, she said, but firefighters saved three birds, a monkey and a dog from one home.

Red Cross volunteers helped one man displaced by the fire, but other neighbors, including the homeowners whose home was destroyed by the fire, found other accommodations.

By this week, neighbors were trying to put the fire behind them. "Everyone’s just trying to recover," said Gordon Szeto.

Brennan said the fire was the first emergency that six of the seven Red Cross volunteers had worked on, and they were impressed by the reaction they got from local firefighters and paramedics.

"The emergency workers were applauding the Red Cross," she said. "We were astounded at the fact that there was such a big support from the rescuers."

<b>Delegation Heads to

Seattle Conference Center</b>

A delegation from Arlington left today for Seattle, Wash., and Vancouver, B.C., to visit conference centers in those cities that could serve as models for a proposed Arlington conference center.

The delegation will include County Board Chair Chris Zimmerman, Vice Chair Charles Monroe, county Manager Ron Carlee, Adam Wasserman, director of county Economic Development, Richard Littman, chair of the Economic Development Commission, and Eric Peterson, a member of the county’s Travel and Tourism Committee.

The county has already hired a contractor to do an analysis of potential sites for the center. In addition, earlier this year, the General Assembly approved an increased hotel tax tied to funding for the center.

Wasserman and other economic development officials recommended that a group from Arlington visit conference centers similar in size and site to the proposed Arlington facility. They will return Aug. 24.

<b>Ft. Myer Tests Reflexes</b>

Fort Myer held a Force Protection exercise today, less than a month before the anniversary of Sept. 11, testing the post’s ability to respond to an actual disaster on the base or in Arlington.

The exercise also involved the Virginia Hospital Center-Arlington, and units from the county’s fire and police departments.

From 6-8 a.m., Force Protection personnel raised the threat condition on the base from "Charlie" to "Delta" – when security measures are at their highest. The exercise tests reflexes at the base, and in practice means that Military Police conducted 100 percent vehicle searches.

The exercise also resulted in cuts to some of the base’s activities, to cut traffic, said Cynthia Smith, spokeswoman for Ft. Myer. But that did simulate what would happen if the threat was real, she said. "In a real threat condition, we would lock our gates," she said.

The exercise is not just to prepare the base for possible terrorist attacks in the DC area, Smith said, but also to prepare for future natural disasters in the region.

It’s not the only time the base will conduct such a test, either. "We do these quarterly," Smith said. "But this will be one of the bigger ones."