An unknown arsonist is behind the fiery blaze that destroyed a Tennessee Planned Parenthood clinic last week, authorities reported Friday.
The Knoxville Fire Department confirmed that the fire was purposefully set by an individual or a group of people, and are offering a $10,000 reward to anyone with information on the crime.
KFD investigators, along with assistance from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, have conducted a thorough scene investigation of the December 31st Planned Parenthood fire. This fire has been determined to be a set fire. Jump over to our FB page for more. pic.twitter.com/CKQN1BX5cB
— Knoxville Fire (@KnoxvilleFire) January 6, 2022
No one was injured in fire since the building was closed for renovations. East Tennessee and Planned Parenthood vowed to work with investigators to find those responsible for the crime and rebuild the clinic, which is the only abortion provider in the eastern part of the state.
“This is an appalling and heartbreaking act of violence towards Planned Parenthood, our patients, and our community,” Ashley Coffield, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Tennessee & North Mississippi, said in a Thursday statement. “Although it will take time to rebuild, we are committed to our patients in East Tennessee and will not let this attack take away the essential health care services on which they rely.”
The clinic was targeted twice last year, with an unknown assailant firing a shotgun at the unoccupied building in January.
Abortion has always been a hot-button issue between the left and right. But with conservative states passing new restrictive laws on abortion access and the U.S. Supreme Court gearing up to hear a case on a Mississippi law banning abortions after 15 weeks, the topic has become even more controversial in recent weeks.