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Mystery Drone Seen Flying Near Warehouse Fire Monday in West End

Washington Times reports local resident saw, photographed drone that was not part of any official response to warehouse fire.

Smoke from Monday's warehouse fire on Van Dorn Street. Photo by Jenn Hatstat
Smoke from Monday's warehouse fire on Van Dorn Street. Photo by Jenn Hatstat
As if a six-alarm fire weren't news enough, now comes word that a mystery drone — likely flown by a local hobbyist — was seen hovering Monday near the blaze that engulfed a West End warehouse, according to a report by the Washington Times newspaper.

The newspaper checked with officials from Alexandria and Fairfax County who said they had no idea who the drone belonged to.

A local resident saw the drone near the Red Lobster restaurant at 555 Van Dorn near the warehouse and photographed it. The photo was published in The Washington Times.

The Federal Aviation Administration mandates that drones cannot fly higher than 400 feet off the ground, they must remain within the operator's sight and cannot be used for commercial purposes, the newspaper reported.

Arlington County and the Department of Defense are cleared by the FAA to use drones, according to a recent report by WTOP.
oldtowner September 10, 2013 at 02:15 PM
thanks for the video link, Bob B. Very interesting....so these small drones could be used to do not-very-nice things. I'm still not clear on where Matthew draws a distinction between a "toy" and a "drone."
Mr. Brown September 10, 2013 at 08:06 PM
The same line I draw for professional and amateur. Was someone trying to do something professional? Or was it a teenager with a $50 plastic rig from amazon.com?
oldtowner September 10, 2013 at 11:14 PM
Not very definitive, Matthew.....who decides what is professional vs. amateur? I assume you saw the recent news release that said the cause of this fire was not accidental...couldn't a teenager with a rig from Amazon do some damage , intentional or not?
Mr. Brown September 11, 2013 at 05:51 AM
Typically employment, real, not imagined, is the deciding variable. I think you're making another illogical leap even by your question. The fire was "not accidental" which means arson. No reason to suspect any flying toys were involved. I don't think a plastic toy with an electric motor could do anything close to this. Again, coincidence is not correlation or causation. You have to wander down a path of smaller and smaller chances to even get close to the two being involved. Asking a question after noting a fact is not a logical course of investigation.
oldtowner September 11, 2013 at 03:52 PM
Matthew: I assume you saw the other news today where the Fire Chief said the fire was not accidental, but does NOT meet the legal definition of "arson." I'm not claiming a "drone" or "toy" caused this fire, merely pondering how one makes a distinction between the two.

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