Gresham firefighters battle commercial building fire
PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Federal investigators are looking into what caused a fire at a Pregnancy Resource Center in Gresham Friday morning.
Authorities with Gresham Fire said the blaze started from inside the Pregnancy Resource Center at about 3:00 a.m.
The center is one of three locations owned and operated by First Image, a Christian-based organization which offers alternatives to abortion.
Although no one was injured by the blaze, fire officials told KOIN 6 News there was significant damage to the inside of the center.
“We don’t know who’s involved in this. But there’s enough to tell us that it is suspicious in nature,” said Jason McGowan, Gresham Fire Battalion Chief. “And that’s why we need to have multiple agencies looking into it and seeing what exactly happened this morning.”
The recent fire is not the only suspicious event to take place at a local pregnancy resource center.
The incident comes just two days after Vancouver Police say a separate Christian-based pregnancy center was vandalized in their jurisdiction Wednesday night.
A spokesperson with the Vancouver center, Options 360 Women’s Clinic, told KOIN 6 News they filed a police report after messages in red paint were sprawled across their 3700 Main St. location.
Nearly a month before the Gresham PRC fire, another First Image location in Southeast Portland was vandalized with anti-PRC messages on May 5.
Portland Police say that investigation is still ongoing.
“We are working with the local police and FBI in whatever way we can,” PCR stated on their website in regard to the vandalism. “The leak from the supreme court this week has clearly turned up the temperature. We knew this would be the case, and that Portland could be a particularly volatile place to be during this significant moment in our culture.”
McGowan told KOIN 6 News, due to the nature of the fire federal investigators are now involved.
“Gresham Police, Gresham Fire, ATF, and the FBI are all involved in the investigation at this time,” McGowan stated. “Because it’s suspicious, in each structure fire we collect evidence, that evidence is then sent off to be processed -and once that process is over, we should have more information.”
KOIN 6 News asked law enforcement if these incidents are being investigated in connection with one another but have yet to hear back.