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Arson investigation ongoing as Casper’s Wellspring Health Clinic aims to open in 2023

A Casper Police Officer stands in front of the Wellspring Health Access clinic on Wednesday, May 25, in Casper after suspected arson and vandalism occurred. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City News File)

CASPER, Wyo. — Plans to open Casper’s Wellspring Health Access Clinic move forward as the investigation into last May’s arson attack continues, according to Wellspring founder Julie Burkhart.

Burkhart says the clinic should open in four to six months. “We’ll be in the first quarter of 2023,” she said.

The clinic plans to offer abortion services, a procedure that is still legal in Wyoming after a judge temporarily blocked a trigger law from going into effect.

Video captured images of a person entering the clinic at 918 E. 2nd St. on May 25. Casper Fire-EMS received the call for the fire at around 3:50 a.m.

Burkhart says estimated damages are upwards of a quarter-million dollars on the building, which was close to opening but is now mostly gutted down to the studs.

“The fire was lit in our second exam room,” she said. The clinic has four exam rooms, and the fire “traveled extensively to three of those exam rooms and all the way down the hallway. You could see fire damage on the walls and smoke damage was pervasive.”

The clinic had multiple surveillance cameras in place that were able to capture some clear images of a person inside the building. Burkhart says tighter security would be implemented in the future, but declined to give details. They also plan to put up some barriers to shield patients from protesters that still frequent the clinic.

Burkhart says she is regularly in touch with the ATF and detectives investigating the case. “They’re continuing to sift through evidence that they have from the scene,” she said.

Casper Police Department lead detective on the case Lt. Jeff Bullard told Oil City News that the ATF is still working on leads. “It is still high on our priority list,” he said.

Additional reporting by Greg Hirst.

An earlier version of this of this story incorrectly said another ruling on Wyoming’s abortion status was emanant. The article has been corrected.