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Planned Parenthood centre in Knoxville, TennesseeJenny Hay

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee (LifeSiteNews) — The New Year’s Eve fire that destroyed a Tennessee abortion clinic was intentional.

On Thursday, January 6, the Knoxville Fire Department (KFD) released a statement of their conclusion that the fire which destroyed the Planned Parenthood facility in Knoxville, Tennessee was due to arson.

“Knoxville Fire Department investigators, along with assistance from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), have conducted a thorough scene investigation of the December 31st 710 N. Cherry Street—Planned Parenthood fire and determined the fire to have been purposely set by an individual or individuals who, at this time, remain unidentified,” it reads

On New Year’s Eve, fire destroyed the Planned Parenthood center in Knoxville, Tennessee. On January 4,  Assistant Fire Chief Mark Wilbanks confirmed that that they had finished their inspection of surrounding properties and that no-one had suffered any damage from the fire.

Wilbanks said that the fire started from within the structure. There was no operational sprinkler system in the building at the time of the fire. Prior to renovation, the building did not have a sprinkler system. Local fire codes did not require a system due to the age and purpose of the building. The renovated building had a sprinkler system, but it was not yet operational.

The Assistant Fire Chief said that it would be at least one month before a full report could be released. Although the scene inspection is complete, officials still have a lot of other information to process.

Ashley Coffield, Chief Executive Officer of Planned Parenthood of Tennessee and North Mississippi, held a press conference in the parking lot of the abortion center.

“We are determined to rebuild,” she said. “We are going to be here.”

The abortion center had been closed for renovation and expansion since December 7. The facility was scheduled to re-open in mid-February. The cost of the expansion was $2.2 million, and Coffield expects a similar budget for rebuilding.

The abortion center saw approximately 4,000 people in its last year, delivering contraception, STD testing, chemical abortions, and “gender-affirming hormone therapy.” Coffield had hoped that the expanded facility would see twice as many people.

Coffield said that Planned Parenthood was continuing to give prescriptions and referrals to Knoxville residents through telehealth. She thanked first responders for keeping neighbors safe from the fire and said that political violence is rare at abortion facilities.