Investigators call Pullman Planned Parenthood fire "arson"

Police said alarms in the building were tripped before the fire alarm went off.

Suspicious fire at Pullman Planned Parenthood. KREM 2's Taylor Viydo is on the scene while ATF investigates.

PULLMAN, Wash. -- Pullman Fire Department and Pullman Police Department both confirmed a fire at the Planned Parenthood.

The fire started at around 3:30 a.m. along SE King Drive and caused extensive damage. Police said fire alarms and burglary alarms were tripped at the same time.

Pullman fire said the fire is suspicious because it happened at Planned Parenthood. 

The fire was discovered after 3:30 Friday morning when both of the building's fire AND burglary alarms went off.

Tanya Riordan with Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and North Idaho called the fire and damage "tragic." Investigators said a window was broken and flames were crawling toward the roof when they arrived at the scene. The building was later deemed unsafe to enter. 

Around 4:45 p.m., Riordan said Pullman fire investigator Rich Dragoo informed them that the fire was arson. 

"This is an appalling act of violence towards Planned Parenthood, but unfortunately a predictable ripple effect from the false and incendiary attacks that fuel violence from extremists," added Karl Eastlund, CEO, Planned Parenthood of Greater WA and North Idaho.

Investigators are still on scene as of Friday morning along with expert for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The FBI was also investigating according to special agent Frank Harrill. He told KREM 2 News that the investigation was "very active" given actions against the provider in the past. 

"We are working with local and federal law enforcement to ensure a thorough investigation and determine the exact cause. Until the official investigation is complete we cannot speculate the cause or conclude if it was arson or not," added Riordan. 

The arson follows Planned Parenthood protests that took place in Pullman a few weeks ago. But officers said those demonstrators were very peaceful and family friendly.

She said Planned Parenthood's focus will be to identify options to continue providing services to the Pullman and surrounding communities with as little disruption as possible.  

Officials with the Pullman Police Department said they have had no major incidents reported at the medical office since is opened in 2012. Spokane County Sheriff's Office said the Spokane Valley location has been largely free of major incidents in that time period, too. Spokane police said they received reports of graffiti in August of 2014 and August of 2015.

 

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