ATLANTA (AP) — Federal authorities have been asked to help investigate after two fires in the past week at women's clinics in metro Atlanta.
The latest fire happened as patients were being seen Wednesday at a Marietta obstetrics and gynecology office. It has been the site of anti-abortion protests in the past.
It took more than 20 firefighters to put out the flames, Cobb County Fire spokeswoman Denell Boyd said. There were about 20 employees and several patients inside when the fire started, she said. No one was hurt.
Patients there are sometimes put under anesthesia, but "just by the grace of God" there were no sedated patients in the office on Wednesday, nurse Angela Buckner told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
A Sunday blaze at the Atlanta Gynecology and Obstetrics Gwinnett office in Lilburn has been described by fire investigators as suspicious. A K-9 indicated that an "incendiary substance" was present at the Lilburn fire scene, and lab tests are under way, FBI officials told The Gwinnett Daily Post.
The scene of that blaze is in Gwinnett County, about 20 miles east of the Marietta fire. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has been asked to help investigate, Gwinnett police Cpl. Jake Smith said.
Some women's clinics have also been burglarized in recent months.
Physicians who were victims of the burglaries and Sunday's fire in Lilburn had all visited the Georgia Capitol this session as abortion-related legislation was being debated, said Dr. David Byck, president of the Georgia Obstetrical and Gynecological Society.
Police say they don't know whether the crimes are connected, nor have they determined a motive.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is seeking a man they describe as a possible witness in the Marietta case, the Journal-Constitution reports. He was wearing a blue polo shirt with an emblem on the left chest and khaki pants, FBI officials said.
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