Fire Damages Washington Abortion Business, Cause Still Unknown

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 10, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Fire Damages Washington Abortion Business, Cause Still Unknown Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
January 10, 2005

Olympia, WA ( — Fire damaged an abortion facility over the weekend in the Washington state capital and federal investigators have been brought in to investigate the cause, which is currently unknown.

The Eastside Women’s Health Clinic was damaged by an early Sunday fire on its rooftop and smoke and water damaged the offices. Lt. Robert Johnson of the Olympia Fire Department says a call concerning the fire came in about 2 a.m.

No one was injured in the blaze and the abortion facility was closed at the time.

McDonald told the Associated Press that the FBI and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were joining local officials in investigating the fire. Special Agent Ray Lauer says the FBI was called because of federal law protecting abortion businesses.

"If it turns out to be an arson, then there are various issues that have to be worked out," Laurer told KOMO News.

Nancy Armstrong, co-owner of the abortion business, told the Olympian newspaper that files and old equipment in an attic were destroyed. Patient information was not, she indicated.

According to the fire department, the damage inside the building was extensive.

Armstrong told the newspaper she did not know how much repairing the damage would cost and gave no estimate of when the abortion business would reopen. The abortion facility sees approximately 35 women each day, she said.

After a years of attacks against abortion facilities by people unrelated to the pro-life movement, such incidents have dwindled recently. In 2005, only one arson at an abortion facility was reported.

An explosion occurred at a Tacoma, Washington abortion facility in June 2001 and arsons happened at abortion businesses in Everett in 1983 and 1984.

Curtis Beseda served 12 years of a 20 year sentence related to the two fires and was released in October 1996, according to KOMO.