Women's clinic hit with Molotov cocktail
Photo courtesy of Planned Parenthood of North Texas - A Molotov cocktail shattered the front door window of the Planned Parenthood clinic on Eldorado Parkway on Tuesday. Police and fire officials are looking for the person or persons responsible for the attack.
MCKINNEY - A heavy glass door is all that stood between damaging flames threatening a family planning clinic in McKinney and an arsonist's sights.
McKinney police and fire crews responded to a small fire that broke out around 10:05 p.m. Tuesday at the front door of the Planned Parenthood clinic, located in a block of stories in the 1700 block of Eldorado Parkway, clinic, police and fire officials confirmed on Wednesday.
McKinney police Lt. Mark Moyle and McKinney Assistant Fire Chief Frank Roma said crews quickly extinguished the flames and only reported minor damage as a result of the fire. An investigation revealed the presence of the device that contained "flammable liquid" that was thrown at the building. The incident is still under investigation by the McKinney Fire Marshal and the McKinney Police Department.
Police have not made any official arrests or identified any suspects connected to their investigation as of Wednesday. Moyle said police and fire marshal officials are still investigating the incident.
Holly Morgan, director of communications for Planned Parenthood of North Texas in Dallas, said the person or persons involved in the attack threw a Molotov cocktail, consisting of diesel fuel in a glass bottle with a lit rag, at the clinic's front door.
The device shattered the front door's glass window but the flames did not reach beyond the front door and only minor damage was reported.
"It didn't penetrate the health center office and none of the staff or patients were there, which is great," Morgan said. "It scorched the outside of the door and I believe there was a little scorching to the retail locations on either side of it."
McKinney police officials have taken some of the remains of the device as evidence and cleaned up the facility, so the clinic could remain open the following morning.
Morgan characterized the attack as unprecedented, not just for the clinic but also for their entire North Texas operation.
"We have not had this kind of violence at any of the other locations in the past," she said. "I believe we've had some vandalism in the past but that was a decade or so ago. We have never had any kind of attack to this degree."
The McKinney clinic did not receive any threatening calls, letters or other forms of contact before Tuesday's incident. Morgan said the clinic has been the target of protests since its official opening almost three years ago but nothing that ever reached such a threatening level of harm.
"We get people who call and tell us they don't like what Planned Parenthood does at our surgical facilities," Morgan said, "but that's sporadic and random and not threatening in any way at all."
Nizam Nurani, owner of the Executive Cleaners store in the same shopping center two doors away from the clinic, said he has never heard or witnessed a serious threat in the last year he's been in business.
"This is one of those out of the blue things," Nurani said. "It's not frequent. If it was getting more frequent, then I'd get worried but it is concerning."
The incident is also unique because the McKinney location does not provide surgical procedures or abortions for their approximately 4,000 clients, Morgan said.
"It's an all-preventive care location: well-woman visits, breast and cervical cancer screenings, birth control," she said. "They don't provide legal safe abortions, only preventive care."