Hazmat At Cary Street Gym

Pool problems at VCU’s Cary Street Gym have lead to a scene with the Virginia Commonwealth University police and Richmond firefighters, including a hazmat crew.

The facility has been closed down while they figure out what is going on.

From the Times Dispatch article:

The gym was evacuated as a precaution, said Richmond Fire Battalion Chief Christine Richardson, adding that at this time they don’t believe there’s any immediate risk to anyone in the area.

Fire On 300 Block of S. Laurel

Neighbors have reported a fire breaking out on the 300 block of S. Laurel.

It has spread to multiple houses.

Neighbor UPDATE at 10:03 am:

The fire looks to be contained. All people are safe.

From City’s emergency traffic site:


From Times Dispatch:
Richmond fire crews fighting 2-alarm house fire in Oregon Hill
Updated TD article:
Fire damages two homes in Richmond’s Oregon Hill; ‘It looked like the gates of hell’

photo courtesy of Teresa Birchett

Some more photos of RFD in action, from Pine Street neighbor Cristina Ramirez:

City of Richmond Fire Department Survey

Excerpt from email:

My name is Steven Hall Jr. and I am a lieutenant for the City of Richmond Fire Department. Like you, I am a resident of the City of Richmond. As a National Fire Academy Executive Fire Officer candidate, I am conducting research that will help the City of Richmond Fire Department better understand and meet the expectations of our citizens. Below you will find a link to a short survey that will help our leadership better understand your expectations and how we can improve our service to you.


Fire On S. Cherry Street Last Night

Shortly after 9 pm last night a fire broke out on the second floor of 223 S. Cherry Street.

According to a neighbor’s report, the young resident had not been aware of the incident until she arrived home and said that her neighbor’s door had been busted in to get to the fire but that the fire seemed to be confined to a stairway area and it smelled like an electrical fire.

(Speculation is that the fire started when the power came back on for most of the neighborhood after Thursday’s storm.)

Thankfully, no one was injured and, from the rear of outside the building, it does not look like there was much damage.


Oregon Hill residents are very, very appreciative of the fast response and good work of the Richmond Fire Department.

By the way, this is not just another apartment building. It was built as part of Grace Arent’s legacy and originally housed the Instructive Visiting Nurse Association (IVNA), one of the earliest forms of public health care in Virginia.

From a 2009 Richmond Magazine article from Harry Kollatz, Jr:

The IVNA provided health care for young mothers, babies and the chronically ill who could not afford proper care. A building she constructed in 1903 for St. Andrew’s teachers at 223 S. Cherry St. became in 1911 headquarters for the IVNA. The IVNA, founded in 1900, is today the largest noninstitutional, nonprofit home health-care agency in the Richmond region.

Proposal To Ban Indoor Furniture From Porches And Yards

From Times Dispatch article:

A Richmond City Council panel on Tuesday advanced a proposal that would ban indoor furniture and mattresses from porches and yards.
The measure is less about dictating tasteful porch decor and more about giving the city recourse to collect discarded mattresses and couches, said Councilman Parker C. Agelasto, 5th District, who sponsored the measure.

At a public hearing on the two ordinances, Jean V. Capel, the city clerk, was the only person to speak.
She said she supported the furniture measure because indoor furniture left on porches spawns mold and can be a fire hazard.
The ordinance specifies that “use or storage of upholstered furniture, including mattresses, manufactured primarily for indoor use shall be prohibited on any front or side yard visible from any public place, sidewalk or road” or “any front or side porch.”
Colonial Heights, Henrico County and Emporia already have similar rules in place, according to a City Council member.
Residents cited for a violation would be fined $100, plus the cost of removing the furniture.

Oregon Hill has some experience with this.