Fire Chief: Arson destroys oldest church in Slidell
Shana Rose & Jay Vise Reporting
The very first church to be established in Slidell has been completely destroyed by fire according to Slidell Chief of Fire Prevention Chad Duffaut.
Duffaut tells WWL Radio News that the church was fully engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived, and says the fire is believed to be the work of an arsonist who set other fires nearby.
Officials are asking anyone with information or tips about who may have started these fires to contact the St. Tammany Sheriff’s Office, which is now handling the investigation.
The Slidell Light of the World Church was built in 1886 and is located on Indian Village Rd. It was badly damaged by Hurricane Katrina, but there were plans for restoration, says Duffaut.
There were three smaller additional fires in that same area, Duffaut said.
"Firefighters also located an additional fire on the same property inside of a tent. Firefighters were able to extinguish both fires and bring the situation under control within 30 minutes of arriving on the scene," Duffaut says. "However, a short time later, two additional fires were also located and extinguished within close proximity to the church fire. The first was a block away, inside an old barn, where a vehicle seat was set on fire. The other fire was a Ford Bronco that was set on fire a few blocks away from the barn."
He says there is no doubt about the cause of the fires, "as they absolutely are arson. All four are related and all four are arson fires."