Highly Suspicious Fires Destroy Two Chambers County Churches - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Lee County, Alabama

Highly Suspicious Fires Destroy Two Chambers County Churches

By Andrew Wittenberg  - bio | email

CHAMBERS COUNTY, ALABAMA (WTVM) - Fire destroyed two churches in rural Chambers County, Alabama on Saturday morning, Alabama State Fire Marshal Ed Paulk said.

Paulk called the fires at Union Hill CME Church and Liberty CME Church near Oak Bowery in northern Chambers County "highly suspicious" and that a criminal investigation is underway. The Union Hill CME fire was reported at approximately 4:30 a.m. Central Time. The Liberty CME fire was reported late Saturday morning.

"We have begun our investigation into the fires," Fire Marshal Paulk said. "While we cannot definitively say these fires are arsons, the proximity of the fires clearly lead us to call them highly suspicious. That's why we are already beginning a criminal investigation. It is a shame that we could be heading down a similar path again. We will devote every available resource to the investigation of these fires."

Paulk said the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms will join the investigation as required by federal law regarding church fires.

"We have an outstanding working relationship with the ATF as shown in the terrible events of three years ago in Bibb County and west Alabama," he said. "We will coordinate our efforts investigating these fires with the local authorities, as we always do."

-Information from Alabama State Fire Marshal's Office

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