Do a flaming shot; get arrested

Fairfax County, Virginia, just outside the nation’s capital, has become one of the most freedom-unfriendly counties in the country.  In their latest effort to prove the point, county police arrested two bartenders in Herndon, and charged them with felony and misdemeanor offenses that could net them more than four decades each in jail.  Their offense?  Not murder, assault, pedophilia, drug trafficking, or bilking patrons out of their hard-earned money.  The charges facing the two  long-time bartenders at Jimmy’s Old Town Tavern all relate to the fact that they were observed by county fire marshals performing a trick for patrons that they have done many times previously — taking a swig of alcohol, then shooting the alcohol out of their mouth across a match or lighter.  The resulting example of “fire-breathing” apparently is of sufficient interest to patrons that the bartenders are — or now, were — widely popular.

Apparently, however, at least one busy-body patron at the Tavern was not enthralled by the flaming tricks thus performed; and took a photo which they then sent to the local authorities, who then showed up unannounced and unidentified, and watched a performance.  They then arrested the two bartenders, among other things, for — get a load of this — manufacturing an explosive device!  Also, the men were charged with various offenses relating to setting a fire.

Insofar as the police and fire officials in Fairfax County obviously spend at least some of their time sitting around figuring out what new or old offenses they can employ to arrest as many average, law-abiding citizens as possible in order to ensure as little fun as possible is conducted within their jurisdiction, one can expect them soon to begin arresting waiters at restaurants in the county who have the audacity to light a chafing dish of Cherries Jubilee or Bananas Foster for a restaurant patron; or who threaten lives by bringing a cake with a lighted candle to a table of a dinner guest celebrating a birthday.  Probably, however, restaurants in Fairfax already have been chilled into discontinuing such practices as a result of witnessing the draconian methods employed by the authorities already in the case of the Jimmy’s Tavern terrorists.  On can suppose also that the police chief and fire marshal have enjoyed a good toast over their success so far; we can only presume neither has committed the capital offense of lighting a victory cigar.

48 comments Add your comment


September 3rd, 2010
7:00 am

Are you sure this wasn’t in Georgia? We seem to have a plethora of draconian religious people attempting to run our lives here in the south. Could they be agents of the religious nut cases imposing their views?


September 3rd, 2010
7:08 am

Guess that’s the end of fajitas too. What a boring society we are becoming!

Bob Lee

September 3rd, 2010
8:01 am

QUICK! Arrest that man, He has a Birthday cake….. As Guam turns, so does the “Days of our Life”

Master of the Universe

September 3rd, 2010
8:37 am

Bob…what you are ignoring is the actual threat to the lives of patrons these heinous and villainous acts were posing. These fine firefighters may have actually saved lives and should be accomodated. I am sure, as you so smugly suggested, that they have not raised a glass in toast just yet. You have failed to consider how many birthday parties parties they have to monitor. Think about the smoldering powder keg that exists at every Chuck E Cheese birthday celebration.

Kretzahl Slagfish

September 3rd, 2010
9:03 am

You’ve failed to see what this is REALLY about. Those two bartenders obviously failed to purchase the requisite number of tickets to the policeman’s ball and were probably a little too stingy with complimentary boilermakers. Not to mention the fact that it can generally be accepted as axiomatic that cops suck.


September 3rd, 2010
9:14 am

Well, if that lightshow spawned arrests, this one will result in the declaration of martial law.

Al Gore

September 3rd, 2010
9:37 am

We should all be grateful that these fine public servants were doing their part to combat global warming.


September 3rd, 2010
9:58 am

I’m sure that after cooler heads prevail (pun intended) the charges will be greatly reduced/dropped, a fine commensurate with the infraction will be imposed on the bar owner (not the guys actually arrested), and everyone will move on dumber for the experience. It’s just a shame these guys have to be put through this initial stress and uncertainty to get to the logical conclusion of this case.

Hillbilly Deluxe

September 3rd, 2010
10:08 am

On can suppose also that the police chief and fire marshal have enjoyed a good toast over their success so far;

I’d assume that’s supposed to read “one can suppose”. One could suppose that Bob doesn’t know a thing about those two people and for him to “suppose” they would have a toast, is pulled from thin air.

Logical Dude

September 3rd, 2010
10:22 am

The main remedy, of course, is to have the requisite license to have a show with flames. Of course, there are fees associated with that, and also the fee to hire a local fireman each night that this show happens.
Or they’ll just arrest you and dump you in jail, threatening decades and fines.
Either way, they’re out to get money.

Tigers Woody

September 3rd, 2010
10:41 am

Hillbilly Deluxe…you sure did show how slick you are! You really had a gotchya there Einstein. Wow…what genius.

Bryan G.

September 3rd, 2010
10:49 am

And of course….in Georgia, on Sunday you can go to a restaurant, get blitzed on booze and drive home (endangering others). But you cannot go to the grocery store and buy a 12 pack and watch the Falcons on your couch. So, stupid laws are everywhere.


September 3rd, 2010
10:54 am

Fairfax County, Virginia, just outside the nation’s capital, has become one of the most freedom-unfriendly counties in the country.

So, Bob, are you implying that people in FC, VA can’t travel freely anymore? Are you suggesting that they can’t worship where they want to? Are you suggesting that all their homes are being bugged and they can’t speak freely anymore? Are you saying that before they leave their driveways they have to file a trip permit with the local feds? Are the people of FC not allowed to assemble any more?

Bob, I think you and your right-wing pals are throwing around the word “freedom” much too loosely (but I guess it sounds good if you want to gin up the base).

I would say that the authorities may have over-reacted but as the case goes to court, and it will, there will probably be a fine, possible a short stint in jail, and community service, but I don’t think that foundation of the US is at stake here. The foundation of freedom in the US was much more in jeopardy under the Patriot Act than this incident.

Junior Samples

September 3rd, 2010
11:07 am


At least your tin-foil hat will protect you in the unlikely event of a banana foster’s incident.


September 3rd, 2010
11:38 am

first off i am not against the whole spitting fire thing, it is cool… but in defense of the fire marshal, he was only doing his job.
ok u guys kinda have ur heads pretty far up ur ass huh? its the fact that it is an establishment, they are spitting fire INSIDE. if a fire catches, it will burn to the ground pretty quickly. the fact is im sure they didnt have the necessary permits (yes they could have gotten them so they wouldnt have gotten in any trouble), or have the proper environment, they probably needed to do a few changes to the property to make it up to code for spitting fire inside. im simply amazed how none of u have actually looked in any law books whatsoever to see if it is illegal. and to see if there are ways that the responsible bartender could go about making it so they could do that performance. i would just recommend pulling ur heads out of ur asses long enough to look at the legal system.

Dr. Pangloss

September 3rd, 2010
11:46 am

Warwick, RI, 2003: 96 people killed in a nightclub fire caused by a rock band’s pyrotechnic display.

After something like that the authorities get cautious, maybe too cautious sometimes, but it looks bad when people die because of something frivolous.

Full story at


September 3rd, 2010
12:50 pm

So, at least as it turns out, the charges in this case have been dropped, and it will not go to court. Looks like the freedom-hating powers that be in Fairfax County stepped up and did the right thing:


September 3rd, 2010
1:16 pm

Too bad bad cops spoil things for good cops.


September 3rd, 2010
1:48 pm

Live here, been there. It’s a very old building, attached to other really old buildings. Most of Historic Downtown Herndon would go up in flames with it. It’s dark in there with fairly low ceilings. I’m not sure that spitting fire is the best idea.

Al Gore

September 3rd, 2010
1:53 pm

I still say it is a global warming issue. And thank goodness for Bob’s foil hat.


September 3rd, 2010
2:34 pm

So Bob, this means we should not even have food safety inspectors,,,Right? Let the free market decide how many people should be poisioned.

C from Marietta

September 3rd, 2010
4:49 pm

Yeah Jeb that is what he saying. Ha Ha. What a big leap in logic there. LOL. I think he is trying to say USE YOUR COMMON SENSE.


September 3rd, 2010
5:06 pm

I wonder how many violent offenders got plea deals and early release in that county due to overcrowding. They have to keep the real criminals like these guys locked up so they better let out some rapist.

markie mark

September 3rd, 2010
5:38 pm

@retiredds – does this mean we can assume that the tongue-in-cheek humor sailed over your head? Or that you are just too grumpy a liberal on this fine holiday weekend for a little sarcasm? Geez, guy, get a life….everyone else pretty much had fun with this…..


September 3rd, 2010
5:41 pm

I think it is time for change…how about a big group hug.


September 3rd, 2010
6:36 pm

the ajc called and they want their money back

barking frog

September 3rd, 2010
7:04 pm

were all the customers allowed to do the same thing or
were their liberties curtailed by the professionals?


September 3rd, 2010
8:24 pm

markie mark, I may have missed the humor and for that I take full responsibility. As for your two other assumptions I would like to correct you since you have seen fit to characterize me. I lean liberal on many issues, i.e. social and religious. I am conservative when it comes to finance (personal, local, state and federal). I lean conservative on some moral issues: i.e. I don’t like politicians, either conservative or liberal, who say they are and then do the opposite … espouse family values while divorcing two, three, or four times, or taking hikes on the AT when in fact in a South American country.

Grumpy: absolutely not. I leave that to others. House is paid for, have a very generous nest egg accumulated over the years because I did not trust that I would get social security, travel when and where I want, have great kids who are running their own businesses, love my country, and let the younger set get in a tizzy over stuff like traffic jams, what to wear, who to impress.

So may I suggest that you lay off putting people into little cardboard boxes of liberal, conservative, or whatever. It is not becoming a person of learning which I am sure you are.

Have a good Labor Day weekend. I’m not traveling so am going to enjoy the quietude of my neighborhood and go to a few local events and drink a few beers (I’ll buy them on Saturday for Sunday because Sonny won’t let me purchase them on Sunday, you know the nanny stuff Bob brings up from time to time).


September 3rd, 2010
9:40 pm

Hi Bob:

What can anybody say about things like this happening…? Except “Ohhhh, Geeeez!”

It’s sooo exasperating to hear stuff like this happen. It makes me wonder what planet these bureaucratic goofballs are from. I’m telling ya’……there’s fixing to be a very sharp polarization in Amerika of 3 kinds of people:
(1) people who just say ’screw it….I’m moving to some mid-sized city in a banana republic somewhere where they understand live-and-let-live, or
(2) people will undoubtedly be labeled as radicals and/or revolutionaries, or
(3) the mind-numbed idiots who like this “brave new world”.

I’ve always been a student of history and I realized many years ago that people don’t change and revolutions aren’t limited to any particular century or decade but are rather part of the natural ebb and flow of a dynamic sentient species.

I can only hope that there’s still enough of the mechanism of democracy and enough true patriots left to stop this madness before we can’t even recognize any similarity between the America of yesterday and the Amerika of today.

Barring Logic

September 3rd, 2010
9:49 pm

LOL!!!! Barr is so beaten down he has resorted to blogging about bartenders getting arrested? What has this so-called conservative republican stooped to? With all of the entire world and all of the nations of the world to write about – he picks THIS as a topic?

Too funny!!!


September 4th, 2010
2:18 am

Im glad you are in favor of flaming shots, but if you call this important you are a flaming schmuck!

Hindsight is 20/20

September 4th, 2010
7:55 am

Very dry. The humor so subtle it can only have been born from my persistent scolding.

Liking Barr more and more…….this piece puts him back in the running for the finals of ‘mericas got talent.


September 4th, 2010
10:25 am

Sometimes the stupidity of law inforcement seems to know no bounds.


September 4th, 2010
5:12 pm

I understand the part about the firemen and policemen sitting around with nothing to do. But I would have thought they would have had it down pat by now. Apparently not!

Don't Forget

September 5th, 2010
12:23 am

What the heck ever happened to “giving a warning”. Was it really necessary to arrest these guys? Why would anyone want to involve the courts and all the associated expense’s when a simple “knock it off or get a permit” would have sufficed.

John Rocker(former Braves pitcher)

September 5th, 2010
9:04 am

I remember ol’ J.B. kicking Hoesa Williams ass all the time.He made Hoesa look like a damn fool that he was.Now you want to talk about a drunk.He trappsed around as a reverand.
Yea, about as much of one as Jeremiah Wright.

Brian Britcher

September 6th, 2010
9:15 am

Watch the attached video until 6:19. Notice the person trapped in the bottom right of the doorway flailing for help while he burns to death…

I must ask Mr. Bob Barr after watching this how do you feel about those men now that were enforcing laws that protected the freedoms of everyone to not burn to death in a public venue?


September 6th, 2010
2:03 pm

They aren’t going to get long term jail terms. However, they probably will get a conviction of some sort. Why? Because it is dangerous. Anyone remember the Station night club fire years ago that turned into a death trap for so many patrons? I am sure they thought the pyrotechnics were cool and fun, too. They were dangerous and cost people their lives. Hey Bob, stop trying to hip and be responsible.

Mel Sculli

September 6th, 2010
7:02 pm

Are you kidding? Maybe some of you who think what harm could come doing the Flame Trick could cause? Fire Codes & Laws are in place to protect the idiots from themselves. If you have ever seen the results of a night club fire, you would all be singing a different tune. You can’t legislate common sense, obviously by some of the comments here.

Dave Statter

September 6th, 2010
9:21 pm

Mr. Barr I invite you to read this and then watch the video of The Station fire a few times. It’s a shame there wasn’t a “busy-body” around as Great White took the stage. Maybe you could chat with some of the relatives of those people you will see in the video about what “freedom” means to you.


September 7th, 2010
8:17 pm

What???? Fairfax County unfriendly…hmmm better do you homework. This county is very advanced in all areas including schools and social conscience. You must have something better to do than look for this kind of trash…


September 7th, 2010
10:09 pm

Yes, this actually happened and most likely the bartenders were turned in by someone with an axe to grind, either with them or with the owner. The owner is one of the most community minded people in the little town (23,000) of Herndon. BTW – the charges have been dropped.

Herndon police is great and did not have anything to do with this. Fairfax County is what Vicky says it is. .


September 8th, 2010
8:12 am

So we are going to put these two bartenders through a bunch of stress, uncertainty, loss of money, and possibly throw them in jail over a parlor trick done with a bit of bad judgement in the efforts to please the patronage. Heinous villains they are… Hit them with a fine for violating fire-code and be done with it. Truly pathetic, Americans should be outraged over the wasting of tax-payer money for something so stupid.

The Chief

September 8th, 2010
10:54 am

Bob I guess you’ve never had to smell burnt flesh or pull a body out of a fire. It stays with you the rest of your life. The freedom you talk about doesn’t include the right to burn yourself or other people to death or inflict painful injury to others or yourself in the name of a good time. There is a reason that fire codes were established and usually after a tragedy that people like you will denounce the fire dept. for not doing something about it before hand when most times we try and are shot down by politicians like you who say we are intruding. But then again I guess having a hundred or so people die or be injured and the resultant lawsuits with millions of dollars awarded is better than a couple of hundred dollar fine and no more fire tricks is better. Joish it’s called reckless endangerment and risking catastrophy.

Ed Huberts

September 10th, 2010
2:05 pm

I just got the link to Dave Statten’s response to Bob Barr’s comments cooncerning the batenders’ spitting fire. Everyone has to see the video of the Rhode Island fire to appreciate how quickly people were killed. In less than a minute, the fate of the 98 fatalities had been determined.

That Rhode Island Station nightclub fire was only the latest of over a handful of fires where fatalities were in the hundreds just in the US alone. Since that fire in 2004, thre have been several high fatality fires at celebrations in other parts of the world.

The fire marshals were not being thoughtless bureacrats. Their job is to enforce a law when people who don’t understand the consequences of their actions are acting irresponsibly. The penalties are severe because the results of their actions can be severe.

If Mr. Barr is to be a responsible person, he should acknowledge that he spoke too hastily and make sure that there is no political pressure to bear on the marshals. I appreciated Mr. Barr’s work when he was in Congress and I hope he rethinks his poisition on this issue.

Ed HUberts

Ed Huberts

September 10th, 2010
2:09 pm

If anyone is still responding to these comments, here is the YouTube link


September 11th, 2010
12:48 pm

Well Bob I have to say this article is pretty disturbing. The fact that you are more concerned about the publics fun than safety says alot about you. I live about a half hour away from the location of Station Night Club fire. A couple of aquaintances were killed, and friends were burned severly. I only wish some one had the guts to stop the pyrotechnics that night. I am a certified fire marshal, though not in Rhode Island, and when I conduct my inspections the one thing that remains in my mind are all of the lives lost and people injured because of stupidity that night. I will not allow that to happen on my watch and cudos to the marshals who took care of the bar tenders before something tragic happened. How would you like to tell a child their parent died in a fire because the bartender was doing a trick and everyone would have been mad if the bartender didn’t do it. Just because it was done one hundred times before without a problem doesn’t mean the next time it will be ok too. If something goes wrong I don’t care how politically connected you are, your getting sued, and your political friends will be nowhere around. Not only that but the injuries or deaths will be with you for the rest of your life. You want that on your head for a little “fun”, not me. Time to grow up people, if you can’t take care of yourselves looks like someone will have to do it for you. Just because you want to have fun, doesn’t mean everyone’s safety has to be jepardized.

Richard D. Hahn, Senior Fire Marshal

September 13th, 2010
4:11 pm

Mr. Barr,

My question to you is how many people lost their lives because of the actions of the Fire Marshals that evening? The answer obviously is ZERO, which is a great thing. But how many may have lost their lives if the stunt of the bar tenders went wrong?

Do you think for a second anyone thought that there would be a fire that night at The Station Night Club in Rhode Island? I do not think they did, but there was one and we all know the results of same.

You see most of us in the Fire Protection field take our jobs very seriously and the worst thing that can happen is a fatal fire that could have been prevented. The problem with our job, like most enforcement jobs is that when you do the job right and there are no fires, people do not see this. Which is okay with me. I would much rather do my job and possibly because of that there is no fire and no one gets hurt or worse then no do my job or possibly miss something and there is a fire.

I tip my hat to both of those Fire Marshals for very possibly saving lives.