More Federal Agents Pour Into Alabama to Solve Church Fires

The federal government deployed more help to solve Alabama's church fires Thursday, and the investigators already here were on the move as well.

They left Bibb County and installed their command post at the Tuscaloosa airport - closer to the second round of fires.

At the same time, they continued to dig through the ashes from all four fire sites. The criminals may not realize this, but the numbers show the longer investigators dig, there's a far better chance someone will catch them.

"We've got more than 100 ATF agents working now, we've got the FBI," said Governor Bob Riley.

The federal government assigned 50 new agents to the case Thursday. Many of these same people got lots of practice finding causes and chemicals working the 1990's church fires in this same area. They know what to look for.

"It's evident that whos ever is setting fires to churches have deep psychological issues," said ATF Special Agent Austin Banks.

Because there's so much pressure from the state and federal level....

"This is a priority. An ATF, state and local priority," Banks said. arsons are solved about twice as often as the average case.

While detectives dig, the remaining congregations are also increasing the pressure too. But they have dreadful expectations.

"I'm not expecting this to be the last one," said pastor James Posey.

Some congregations are reportedly sleeping in sanctuaries, others posting lookouts.

"You have people in the community who normally see things of this magnitude, they're very noticeable of suspicious vehicles and things of that nature," said Galilee Baptist Church pastor Bob Little.

The five churches torched in Bibb County got some good news Thursday. The Southern Baptist Convention told us it would send aid to all five, even the one congregation not affiliated with the SBC.

The four west Alabama churches are not Southern Baptist, but a board official told WSFA that individuals are planning to send them help as well.

Other small churches in the area are also taking action to protect their property.

After the 1996 Boligee fires, the United Council of Churches sent many of those congregations motion detector light systems to scare off intruders. The pastors told WSFA they're checking all of those out to make sure they're working.