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Fire Marshal Determines Three Bibb Church Fires to be Intentionally Set

Two Other Church Fire Sites Remain Under Investigation

Contact: Ragan Ingram, Assistant Commissioner

334-241-4146

2/3/2006

7:35 PM CST

Fires at five churches in Bibb County overnight Thursday and one that occurred in Chilton County on late Thursday afternoon are under investigation, State Fire Marshal Richard Montgomery said today.

"Based on evidence collected at the scene, we can definitively say that three of the fires were deliberately set," Montgomery said. "Based on the proximity of the churches and the time, the other two fires remain extremely suspicious. We will continue our investigation through the night and into tomorrow. We will keep the public up-to-date as to developments."

The churches in Bibb County were all located in an area west of Centreville and south of Brierfield. The churches and their status are:

Ashby Baptist Church -- destroyed, deemed to be deliberately set
Old Union Baptist Church -- minimal damage, deemed to be deliberately set
Rehobeth Baptist Church -- destroyed
Antioch Baptist Church -- minimal damage, deemed to be deliberately set
Sabine Baptist Church -- destroyed

A building that formerly housed the sanctuary for the New Harmony Holiness Church in the Fairview Community near Clanton suffered moderate damage.

In Bibb County, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the Alabama Bureau of Investigation, the Bibb County Sheriff's Department and local and volunteer fire departments are assisting.