Two Chilton County Men Arrested in Church Fire Probe

Two Chilton County men have been arrested on arson, burglary and theft charges in a Jan. 12  church fire.

Billy Ray and Brian Henry, both 31, have been charged with second-degree arson, first-degree theft of property and third-degree burglary in connection with the fire at Providence Baptist Church in northern Chilton County.

The suspects reside together just south of Calera, which is in Shelby County. Their residence is just south of the Shelby-Chilton county line.

They were arrested by officers from the Alabama State Fire Marshals Office, the Chilton County Sheriff's Office, and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

Both are being held in the Chilton County jail pending arraingment and setting of bail.

"This investigation is by no means over," said State Fire Marshal Ed Paulk. "In fact, we anticipate that further arrests will be made."

Chilton County Sheriff Kevin Davis said investigators will continue their work to determine if there is a link between the Providence fire and a Dec. 29 fire that destroyed Maple Springs Baptist Church near Clanton.

"We will continue our investigation toward that end," Sheriff Davis said. "We're working as hard as we can to bring closure to these churches and to bring those responsible to justice."

The members of the Chilton County Church Fire Task Force are the State Fire Marshals Office, the Chilton County Sheriff's Office, the ATF and the Alabama Bureau of Investigation.

"As with the task force for the fires in Lee and Russell counties as well as the fires two years ago," Fire Marshal Paulk said, "we have seen wonderful cooperation and a lot of hard work by a lot of dedicated people."