Spotlight on Ed Plaugher

Name: Ed Plaugher

Town: Round Hill, Va.

Years in Arlington: 10.5

Occupation: Fire Chief, 1993-2004; Winner, Career Fire Chief, Fire Chief of the Year Awards (distributed by Fire Chief magazine), 2004

Achievements: From 1995 on, Plaugher was active in working to prepare Arlington for a possible terrorist attack. His activities included creating the first locally-staffed terrorism response team in the area. This served him well on September 11, 2001, when the Arlington County Fire Department was the lead agency responding to the attrack on the Pentagon. Plaugher was later appointed to the Department of Homeland Security's Emergency Response Senior Advisory Committee.

He also worked to make sure the Arlington County Fire Department was able to make progress in the categories of upgrading apparatus and equipment, improving facilities (including replacing a Fall Church fire station, renovating two others, and beginning work on the replacement of a Crystal City fire station); improving staff; and working to develop better relationships with the community.

Family: Married for 12 years to wife Melody; four children, two grandchildren.

What do you like about Arlington?: "Its cultural diversity. The urban character is phenomenal. I would consider it a premiere place to live in the U.S. It has so much to offer in terms of culture, education, government and transportation."

Favorite Local Restaurant: Alpine (4770 Lee Highway, near Fire Station #8); Two Chefs (5019 Wilson Blvd., near Fire Station #2)

Interests/Hobbies: Travel. Plaugher owns a motor home and made a trip to New Orleans last week to pick up his fire Chief of the Year award; he was also recently in Myrtle Beach, N.C. Next up is a drive to Florida.

Community Concerns: "Keeping a proper balance. The area is getting more and more urban, and as property values increase, it will be hard to maintain the cultural richness. But that's true of the entire region."

Community Ideas: "I think they need to put a full-court press to get light rail out Columbia Pike to maximize value." Plaugher advocates a European-style light rail between the Pentagon and Bailey's Crossroads, saying it would help to maintain cultural diversity and affordability.

Personal Goals: "After this break, I want to continue doing what I can for a safer nation."

What community "hidden treasure" should more people know about?: Eagle Cleaners (6402 Williamsburg Boulevard) is friendly, inexpensive, and an all-around "gem," Plaugher says, noting they used to do his uniform shirts for 65 cents each.