Fire at Bellingham Planned Parenthood deemed accidental

Jack Belcher/The Bellingham Herald

The minor fire was reported at the Mount Baker Planned Parenthood in Bellingham Wednesday morning, though it’s doubtful the blaze was part of a targeted attack, officials said.

“We want to clarify that this was not a targeted attack on MBPP (Mount Baker Planned Parenthood) or our services,” CEO Linda McCarthy told The Bellingham Herald in an email. ”We appreciate the concern and words of support from the community as we work to repair the damage.”

McCarthy said damage was only done near the front door of the building and was caused by a man starting a fire on the outside bench, apparently to stay warm. The person was arrested for arson and malicious mischief but has not been identified as he did not give his name to police and had no identification on his person, according to Megan Peters with the Bellingham Police Department.

While the front doors did sustain damage, Mount Baker Planned Parenthood remains open, and patients are being seen.

No injuries were reported as a part of the fire, although damages are estimated to exceed $7,500.

The person also tried to set fire to papers stuffed under the backdoor of the building, but McCarthy said there was so little paper and so little ash that it was more likely the man was trying to keep warm than an actual attempt to burn down the building.

The man was found on scene by police officers around 4 a.m. and was arrested without incident.