A Planned Parenthood operation in Knoxville, Tennessee burned down early Friday morning. The building was in the process of being renovated and expanded since early December.
According to local news outlet Knoxville News Sentinel:
"Fire crews were called about 6:40 a.m. as heavy smoke was coming out of the back of the structure, Assistant Chief Brent Seymour said. There were no injuries to report. The building was being renovated and the clinic had not been used in some time. Seymour said it’s too early in the investigation, with parts of the building unsafe to enter, to be able to say what caused the fire…
"Once crews arrived the fire already engulfed portions of the building and flames were coming out of the roof, Seymour said. The lead commander determined a defensive operation was the best way to fight the fire, meaning no one was sent inside the building," he said.
The news outlet reported that federal investigators are currently trying to determine if the building caught fire as a result of arson. Representatives from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the FBI are currently working with local authorities to assess whether the fire was “suspicious” in nature. Investigators from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the Knox County Fire Department are also involved in the investigation.
Planned Parenthood CEO Ashley Coffield called the destruction of the building a “huge loss for the community,” noting her hope that there were “no resulting injuries or damage to neighboring properties.”
“We are fully cooperating with the authorities as they assess the cause of the fire,” said Coffield in a statement.
Knox News reported that no one was sent into the building to put out the fire after fire crews determined that a defensive operation was the best way to put out the fire.
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