Knoxville reproductive clinics report increased police patrols after arson

The Knoxville Fire Department reported an “intentional” fire set at Planned Parenthood clinic on Dec. 30.
The Knoxville Fire Department reported an "intentional" fire set at Planned Parenthood Thursday.
Published: Jan. 6, 2022 at 7:53 PM EST
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - An early morning blaze sparked concerns a week later at Planned Parenthood in Knoxville. Around this time last year, the reproductive health clinic was in the headlines after police said someone used a shotgun to shoot through the windows.

A year later, The Knoxville Fire Department reported an “intentional” fire set at the clinic on Dec. 30, 2021.

“The fact that the fire had already breached the roof indicated that the fire had been burning for some time prior to the department’s arrival,” Assistant Chief Mark Wilbanks said. “It took the Knoxville Fire Department almost four hours to fully extinguish the blaze. The nearly 10,000 square foot building was under renovation at the time of the fire.

The temporary closure sent dozens of patients to the Knox County Health Department and the Knoxville Center for Reproductive Health. Corinne Robetti, Knoxville Center’s co-director, told WVLT News that they are seeing an uncommon waitlist of about a dozen patients.

“We have been inundated with calls,” Robetti said.

Robetti also said that the clinic saw more police presence and patrols in the area following the fire at Planned Parenthood.

“Planned Parenthood, as we all are, bombarded by some really difficult protesters that has definitely increased since last Jan. 6th,” said Robetti. “An officer came in just to check on us the other day. I couldn’t have been happier to see that.”

There is now a $10,000 reward for anyone who has information that leads to an arrest.

Planned Parenthood’s regional CEO, Ashley Coffield, said they are committed to rebuilding the damaged $2.2 million newly renovated facility.

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