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Explosion damages Atlanta family planning clinic

Second explosion occurs outside, causes injuries

January 16, 1997
Web posted at: 11:00 a.m. EST

ATLANTA (CNN) -- An explosion damaged a building housing the Atlanta Northside Family Planning Services, a clinic where abortions are performed, in the Atlanta suburb of Sandy Springs Thursday morning.

About an hour later, at least six people were injured when a second blast occurred, apparently in a trash dumpster located near the building. Among those hurt was an agent for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. A spokeswoman at Northside Hospital said he was in stable condition. Also hurt was cameraman Randy Page from WGNX TV. The injuries to Page and the others were not considered serious. And at least two cars near the dumpster were damaged. movie icon (562K/13 sec. QuickTime movie)

There were no injuries reported from the first blast, which occurred around 9:30 a.m., Fulton County Police said.

"It felt like a bomb," said Rob Stadler, a local radio reporter who was inside when the first explosion happened.

Second explosion

First explosion cause 'not natural'

The cause of the explosion was not known "but it was not natural" said Lt. C.C. Cass of the Fulton County Police.

Cass said the blast damaged plate glass windows in the building and "caused some smoke." Aerial television pictures from the scene showed debris scattered along the ground.

Antonette Simms said she was working inside the clinic at the time of the blast.

"I felt the building shake, just like an earthquake, you might say. There was a very loud crash," said Simms. "I've worked here for several years and we've never even had protesters outside, so this was a complete shock to us."


Simms said she believed the blast was in the front portion of the clinic, which is located on the ground floor of the multi-story building. She said all the employees of the clinic got out without incident.

Atlanta Mayor Bill Campbell ordered police to step up security at other clinics in the Atlanta area.

The FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms were joining local officials in the investigation.


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