Just four days after fires damaged or destroyed five Bibb County churches, parishioners near Boligee are stunned at what has happened to their historic church.
The Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church was built in 1912. Now, it is just a pile of ashes.
"We've go so many things that we could be doing as human beings on this earth. Fore somebody to come here and do this, it just saddens and hurts me," says
Greene County deputies got the all around 4 a.m. Thursday. Just two hours earlier a deputy check on the church and everything was fine. Sheriff Johnny Isaac says, "He just left and we got a call 2-3 hours later that it was on fire...We believe that there are some connections (to the Bibb County fires). There are several similarities: forced entry; fire that started possibly in the pulpit. We don't know for sure, but they probably are connected."
Down the road at Emelle, Spring Valley Baptist Church looks fine from the outside. But, inside it's a different story says Sumter County Sheriff Johnny Hatter, "There's a lot of heavy smoke damage."
Rev. Glenn Harris says, "The devil is busy...I want to assure our members that it's fine and I want to say my main concern is the perpetrator. We really pray for him or her because it's a deranged person."
Both churches have predominantly black congregations. So far, investigators say they still don't have a suspect.
The Alabama Fire Marshal's office says the fires are being "investigated as suspected arson." Additionally, the office is asking sheriffs in west Alabama to step up patrols.
The earlier fires in Bibb County appear to have been deliberately set.