Another Church Fire in Russell County

WSFA 12 News is following a developing story out of Russell County at this hour.

A total of three church arsons in East Alabama since the start of the new year has prompted the Alabama State Fire Marshals Office to open a command post to investigate the cases, State Fire Marshal Ed Paulk said Friday.

Two of the fires were in Russell County, the other in Lee County. All were in rural areas.

The latest fire was determined Friday morning at the Woodland Baptist Church in the Ladonia community near Phenix City. It suffered moderate damage.

The first fire was Tuesday at the Greater Peace and Goodwill AME Church in Crawford, which is also in Russell County.  It suffered major damage.

The Lee County fire was in the early morning hours of Thursday at the Greater Bethelpore Baptist Church in Smiths Station. It was a total loss.

"In order to facilitate our investigation, we are opening the command post with the assistance of the Lee and Russell sheriffs' departments, the Phenix City Police and Fire Departments, and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms," said Fire Marshal Paulk.

"We encourage anyone with information to call the State Arson Hotline 1-800-654-0775."

The location of the command post will be determined this weekend.

WSFA 12 News will continue to follow and update this story.