Early Tuesday morning Fairfax County's newly established Strike Team descended on the Fairview Motel, 6421 Richmond Highway, Mount Vernon District, and closed it for numerous alleged violations of public safety and health regulations, according to Deputy Chief David McKernan, Fairfax County Fire & Rescue Department, Operations Section Chief, Fairfax County Strike Team.
"The living conditions in this place were atrocious. We found water damage, electrical code violations, rats, mosquito breeding areas, roof and floor deterioration, non-working fire and smoke detectors and a lot of other violations," McKernan said.
The new Strike Team was created June 1 to deal with overcrowding and other code and safety violations primarily in residential areas. However, they can also respond to complaints of public safety situations in both residential and commercial properties, according to McKernan.
"This was a case of numerous complaints over a period of time from a variety of sources," he said. "The police officer on our team ran a history of the motel and came up with a wide variety of complaints." Some of those allegedly involved drug dealing and other matters. The site was the scene of a shooting involving drugs several months ago, according to police records.
"We totally placarded the property including the adjacent house that was used as an office," McKernan said. "In addition to other things there was debris throughout the property, and several abandoned vehicles making it a junkyard under the code," he said.
Of the 14 rooms in the motel itself only three were occupied at the time of the unannounced inspection. "One of the parties was leaving anyway. The other two were being helped by social services personnel," McKernan said.
According to county records, the property is owned by Abdul and Salma Khan whose address is listed as 4404 Grenada St., Alexandria. Neither was at the motel at the time of the inspection and they declined to comment upon being contacted.
The motel and adjoining house will remain closed and unoccupied until all health and safety violations have been corrected to the satisfaction of the county, according to McKernan. "They will have to go through the entire approval process following repairs and then undergo another inspection before they will be permitted to reopen," he said.
The Strike Team, which includes representatives from all county agencies concerned with health, zoning, and life safety issues, was created primarily to deal with overcrowding conditions occurring throughout the county primarily in older neighborhoods involving single family homes. "This problem is not limited to any one section of the county," McKernan said.
There are presently two Strike Teams operating throughout Fairfax County, each is composed of five members representing county agencies dealing with zoning, public works and environmental services, health, fire, and law enforcement. Robert Stalzer, deputy county executive for public safety heads the new unit.
"We receive and react to complaints from all parts of the county daily. This case was multi-complaint driven," McKernan said.
No summons or other legal action has been taken at this time, according to McKernan.