Ashley Rodrigue / Eyewitness News
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SLIDELL-- Around 10:40 p.m. Wednesday, a call came in about a fire ripping through a nearly 130-year-old church in the Indian Village area.

The pastor of Slidell Light of the World Church says the building had been there since 1886, but had been closed since Hurricane Katrina damaged it. While repairs were slow in progress, a tent was set up on the property for revival services to begin soon, but it was also damaged by flames.

'Come out and worked on it, worked on it, and finally, it burned down,' said Bishop Freeman Simmons, 'It feel awful sad since I've been trying to get God's house restored.'

Investigators combed through what the fire left Thursday morning calling it arson.

St. Tammany Fire District #1 Fire Prevention Officer Chad Duffaut said, 'We are working with the sheriff's office detectives to try to apprehend the suspects and hopefully we can put this to an end soon.'

Two other fire calls came in while firefighters were working on the flames at the church, within a three block radius, including a barn within eyesight of the church.

'These fires are definitely all linked,' said Duffaut.

'Very surprised,' said Dock Mitchell, 'My father has had this property for over 20 years and we've never had something like this happen.'

Mitchell was one of those other fire calls that came in within an hour after the church was set ablaze. His hunting truck, which was being repaired, was the target.

He said, 'Just lucky for them and me that I didn't catch 'em.'

No one was injured in any of the fires. If you have any information about the arsons, call the St. Tammany Sheriff's Office or St. Tammany Fire District #1 in Slidell at 985-646-4387.

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