$10,000 in rewards offered in Ala. church fires case

Sunday, February 5, 2006

BRIERFIELD, Ala. -- Rewards totaling $10,000 were offered Saturday in the investigation of the fires that damaged or destroyed five rural churches along winding country roads south of Birmingham.

Gov. Bob Riley said a $5,000 reward was being offered by the state, and a $5,000 reward was posted by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Riley and other officials spoke at a news conference in front of the ruins of Ashby Baptist Church, one of three houses of worship destroyed by the fires early Friday.

Members of the Ashby church in Brierfield promised to rebuild.

Two other Bibb County churches were damaged.

One or more arsonists apparently drove along rural roads and stopped to ignite the fires in sanctuaries one after the other, investigators said.

No arrests had been made and authorities said the motive had not been determined.

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