Authorities have determined that a fire that burned down a Planned Parenthood clinic in Tennessee on New Year’s Eve was set intentionally.
The Knoxville Fire Department worked with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to make the assessment, which it announced Thursday. No suspects have yet been named.
Flames completely engulfed the clinic on the morning of Dec. 31 before 7 a.m. local time. Nine units, with 30 firefighters, flocked to the scene, but the building was “a total loss,” the department said.
Photos show only a partial skeleton of the building left standing, surrounded by charred rubble.
The structure was under renovations at the time and no one was injured.
Knoxville’s Planned Parenthood clinic was also the target of an attack around the same time last year, when a white man with a bandanna over his face is believed to have blown out the clinic’s front doors with a shotgun. While the FBI lent assistance to the Knoxville Police Department, no one has been arrested or charged in relation to the shooting.
That incident took place Jan. 22, 2021, on the 48th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark abortion rights decision by the Supreme Court. No one was injured, but abortion rights activists worried at the time that it was a sign of more violence to come, as HuffPost reported last year.
Over the past several months, some Republican-controlled state legislatures have taken steps toward introducing extreme abortion bans that would all but outlaw the procedure within state boundaries; proponents of the legislation hope that a conservative-leaning Supreme Court would now back it up.
Authorities are offering a $10,000 reward for information on the arson; anyone with knowledge of the incident is asked to contact the Knoxville Fire Department.