Church Fire Investigations Continue - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Church Fire Investigations Continue

In west Alabama, the question is why, why in the world would anybody burn down a church, much less nine of them?

West Alabama is industry poor but church rich. In fact, on one street near Boligee, there are no less than four Baptist churches in less than two miles - all of them very small.

Bob Little, pastor of Galilee Baptist Church, says about 45 people worship at his little church that was attacked by a suspected arsonist.

The size of these churches makes them targets, targets because there are few people around and because the churches are so small many congregations can't afford things like security and sprinkler systems to fend off arsonists.

"With a small congregation you basically just pray that God will be able to protect us," says Little.

It appears whoever carried out these arsons made a serious mistake when they attacked Galilee Baptist Church in Panola. The church sits at the end of a single-lane dirt road.

"You have to be coming to Galilee to find Galilee," says the church's pastor. "It is not a place that is in on the beaten track or anything."

ATF Special Agent Austin Brooks says, "What is obvious in this investigation is that whoever is committing these crimes is familiar with the areas."

So just how will the ATF and the FBI zero in on the person or persons responsibile for setting these fires?

Well, they've called in their psychological and geographical profilers to help sift through the clues. These profilers will take the clues they find and narrow the list of the kind of individuals they are looking for.

There are many similarities in the cases. The same method is used in carrying out the attacks - the front doors are kicked in; the fires are set; and the perpetrators leave quickly.

Investigators tell us they've all but eliminated the possibility of hate groups. They say most of the time these groups will leave a sign so they can take credit for the terrorism. As of yet, none of these signs has been found at any of the scenes.

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