Cars explode on Prince William roads

cardinal drive car fire

A mother pulled her two children from a burning minivan this afternoon.

Their 2001 Nissan Quest caught fire at the intersection of Cardinal Drive and George Fyre Circle just before 4 p.m. in Woodbridge.

No one was injured in the blaze, but the children’s mother India Cutler was visibly shaken. Cutler was taking her children out to eat and was waiting to make a left turn from George Frye Circle on the Cardinal Drive. That’s when her minivan exploded. Flames engulfed the front of the vehicle and the front seats. Fire also damaged the middle of the vehicle where her children were sitting.

Fire crews were called to douse the blaze. They were able to save some of Cutler’s personal items including a notebook and purse.

“I guess we’ll eat in tonight,” said Cutler.

In a separate incident earlier in the day, at PT Cruiser caught fire near the intersection of Hoadly Road and Route 234. About noon Friday, 22-year-old Karina Freeman had nearly pulled into her driveway at her home at 13617 Dumfries Road when flames started shooting from the inside air vents, she said. Fire then engulf the front of the car.

Freeman escaped without injury and ran into her house afraid her car was going to explode.

She called fire and rescue crews who came to douse the blaze.

The PT Cruiser was in a Fredericksburg repair shop just last week because the car had been overheating, said Freeman. She had plans to travel to Emerald Isle Beach in North Carolina tomorrow. She must now put off that trip.
“I don’t even want to think about getting another car right now,” said Freeman.

While not as humid as the day before, temperatures on Friday climbed into the low 90’s. It was the latest in a string of days in what has been a summertime heat wave.

Police closed portions of Cardinal Drive, and Route to 234, respectively, were closed during each incident as fire crews mopped up the mess.

Hurley found safe in Texas


Willard “Bill” Hurley is safe and sound in Texas. 

Someone in Texas recognized Hurley’s mugshot and notified police. Hurley left his home in Leesburg Sunday, July 19. His family reported him missing on Monday. 

Hurley is safe and sound. He chose not to tell police why he left his Virginia home.

Hurley is a retired Prince William County police officer, and is also the father of PGA golfer Billy Hurley. 

Hurley made an emotional plea on Tuesday at the Quicken Loans National for his father to return home.

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New deputy city manager in Manassas


The City of Manassas has a new deputy manager.

According to a city release, City Manager Patrick Pate has selected Bryan Foster for the position.

Foster will oversee Public Works and utilities for the city, starting September 14.

“Bryan’s background makes him a perfect fit for our community. He has served in many roles in local government and I know the City will benefit from his expertise,” stated City Manager William Patrick Pate. 

Foster has served as a county administrator, town manager, and director of Municipal Services, prior to his current role as the Director of Public Utilities in Portsmouth, Virginia.

“My wife and I are looking forward to moving to Manassas. It is a beautiful city and I look forward to becoming part of the team,” stated Foster. 

I-95 lane closures expected overnight next week


Get ready for some lane closuvdotlogo600pixelsres on Interstate 95 next week.

Overnight on August 3 and August 4, there will be multiple lane closures on I-95 North near Exit 158 (Prince William Parkway).

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) stated that the lanes will be closed at 9 a.m. each night, and then there will be more closures overnight that will last for around 30 minutes.

All of the lanes will be fully reopened at 4 a.m., stated a VDOT release.

If there are any delays due to weather, the work will be completed overnight on August 5.

A VDOT release stated that the closures are being done to install a new overhead sign, as part of the 95 Shoulder Improvement Project.

The project is working to build auxiliary lanes, new guardrails, additional lighting, and widened road shoulders on I-95 between Dumfries Road and Prince William Parkway, according to VDOT.

Manassas couple ties knot on live TV at Harris Pavilion


Ashley and Thomas get hitched at Harris Pavilion in Manassas.
Ashley and Thomas get hitched at Harris Pavilion in Manassas.
WTTG Channel 5 broadcasts morning show from Manassas.
WTTG Channel 5 broadcasts morning show from Manassas.

Ashley and Thomas are now one.

The newlyweds tied the knot on live TV Friday morning at Harris Pavilion in Downtown Manassas.

Getting married in front of many complete strangers, not to mention a live TV audience on WTTG Channel 5, was a bit unnerving for the groom.

“Yeah, that’s the nervous part of all this. But we’re ready,” said Thomas Joyce, a horticulturist in the City of Manassas.

He and his bride Ashley Thiesing met while in high school in Manassas six years ago. He now works for the city, and she just graduated college with a criminal justice degree.

Joyce never thought he would get married on live TV. But when the opportunity popped up, it was one that Amy Domenech, owner of Amy’s Bridal on Battle Street, couldn’t pass up.

“Fox 5 walked into my store and offered me this great opportunity,” she said.

About two weeks before broadcasting their morning show live from Harris Pavilion, the crew from the TV station scouted out locations in the city to see what they could feature while they were in town. They had the idea for the live wedding, and Domenech knew of the bride.

“She bought her dress in my store on the 4th of July. She just came from hair and makeup trial and looked fabulous in her dress,” said Domenech. “She kept saying ‘I would get married right now if I could,’ so when [Channel 5] said do it in 11 days, the rest is history.”

Amy’s Bridal organized the wedding from start to finish. Chairs were placed in rows, and cheesecloth decorations were hung around the pavilion.

The couple walked down the aisle about 10 a.m., exchanged their vows, and then stepped over to the TV hosts for the all-important post “I do” interview. The two plan to go on a honeymoon sometime in September, said Joyce.

Channel 5’s visit to Manassas is part of an ongoing series call “Zip Trip.” The TV station plans to broadcast from localities around the Washington, D.C. area until Labor Day.

Retiring Virginia State Senator Charles Colgan was honored as “Manassas hometown hero” during the broadcast for his more than 40 years in public service.


Bakery in Woodbridge offers European, New York desserts


Mario Rubio opened Bellash Bakery in Woodbridge.
The bakery serves New York and European style desserts.
According to Rubio, European baking ingredients can be difficult to get.
The bakery serves, cookies, cupcakes, pastries and more.
Rubio also does custom cake orders.

In the mood for some European-inspired deserts?

Bellash Bakery’s owner Mario Rubio, opened the New York and European style bakery a few months ago in Woodbridge.

“I saw there were no Italian or European bakeries around. So I thought it was something that the neighborhood would want,” said Rubio.

Rubio, who owned a bakery in New York for 30 years, wanted to bring residents a way to try European baked goods you couldn’t find elsewhere in the area.

Bellash Bakery offers an assortment of European desserts including butter cookies, Italian biscuits, French pastries, European tortes, cupcakes and Rubio’s custom cakes.

“A lot of people think that with a European bakery, they expect that all of our products come right from Europe. And around here, you aren’t really able to get those ingredients. But in New York, we are able to get those ingredients. So we are able to do a combination of the European tastes, with the American style bakery. You’re going to get the original taste from Europe, but you can imitate it with American ingredients,” said Rubio.

The bakery is located at Station Plaza on Jefferson Davis Highway in Woodbridge.

Mixer added to Locust Shade tank, to keep water clean


A mixer, moving more than a million gallons of water non-stop, has been added to the Locust Shade Water Tank in Prince William.

According to the Service Authority, the mixer has been added to the water tank as a way to maintain a healthy level of disinfection. 

More from a Service Authority release:

Each spring, the Service Authority switches to the use of free chlorine as a disinfectant while it  flushes and cleans out the water distribution system. For the rest of the year, chloramines are used to disinfect drinking water. Chloramines are a combination of chlorine and ammonia and are much less harsh on the water infrastructure than free chlorine.

When water is not moving inside a tank, the chlorine in the water can begin to slowly dissipate and the ammonia will start to nitrify, which can compromise water quality. This can happen particularly inside tanks that experience lower usage demands or in those located near the end of the distribution system where the water’s journey from the treatment plant is the longest

Before the mixer was installed at Locust Shade, the tank was being served by the Service Authority’s re-chlorination trailer in order to maintain the quality of the water. Unveiled two years ago, the custom-built mobile unit adds chloramines to water in tanks challenged with this issue.

Installing the mixing device is a far more cost-effective method of ensuring better water quality than continually deploying the trailer, which requires the ongoing purchase of chloramines, said Technical Support Manager Robert Jenkins. The mixer at Locust Shade will likely be used on a permanent basis, said Jenkins.

Two years ago, the Service Authority installed a mixer at the Battery Heights tank, a Dumfries-area water tower that was experiencing  the same issue as Locust Shade. These issues have since been remedied thanks to the mixer. Eventually, Jenkins would like to see another installed in the Dominion Valley tank, the northernmost tower in the distribution system.

“The Service Authority prides itself on using innovative tools to maintain the health and safety of all our customers,” Jenkins said. “The mixers at Locust Shade and Battery Heights are excellent examples of our ongoing commitment to providing first class drinking water to the folks living in southern Prince William County.”

Burglars target several homes in Prince William, Manassas this week


There have been a string of burglaries in Prince William and Manassas this week.


According to Prince William police there were two home burglaries this week in Woodbridge.

On the afternoon of July 26, Prince William police responded to a call from a home on Sophia Court in Woodbridge about a burglary.

According to Prince William police, the homeowner stated to officers that the incident had taken place around 2 p.m. on July 24.

An investigation done by Prince William police found that there were no signs of forced entry and that the individual entered through an open garage door. Two bicycles were reported stolen, stated Prince William police.

And on July 28, Prince William police responded to a call for a burglary on Whistling Swan Way in Woodbridge.

The incident took place between 12 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. that morning.

Prince William police stated that there was no sign of forced entry, and the individual entered the home through an open garage door and an unlocked interior door.

A wallet with money and other property was reported missing, stated Prince William police.


There were also two home burglaries in Manassas this week.

Prince William police responded to a burglary call at a home on Ashland Avenue in Manassas on the evening of July 28.

The homeowner told Prince William police that that burglary took place between 12 p.m. on July 26, and 12 p.m. on July 28.

An investigation showed that entry was made through a rear door, which was found damaged, stated Prince William police.

According to Prince William police there was damage to windows, walls and fixtures in the home, but no property was reported missing.

On the morning of July 29, Prince William police responded to a home on Linblake Court in Manassas for a residential burglary.

The owner of the home stated that the incident had taken place between 5 a.m. and 7 p.m. on July 24, said Prince William police.

There was no sign of forced entry, and the individual appears to have entered the home through a basement level window. Rolls of coins and other property were taken, stated Prince William police.

The homeowner reported to police that the burglary occurred between 5:00AM and 7:00PM on July 24th. The investigation revealed that there were no signs of forced entry into the residence. Entry is believed to have been made through a basement level window. Rolls of coins and other property were reported missing.


There was also a residential burglary at a home in Gainesville on July 28.

Prince William police were called to an apartment on Yountville Drive in Gainesville for the burglary.

According to Prince William police, the resident stated that the incident took place between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. that evening.

There was no sign of forced entry into the home, and a gaming console and other property were reported missing, stated Prince William police.

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