The altar at a Creve Coeur church was destroyed in a Tuesday night fire. Now, police are investigating it as an arson.

Creve Coeur Police said an alarm sounded inside St. Monica Catholic Church around 6 p.m. Tuesday. Crews were able to quickly extinguish the fire, but there is still extensive smoke and water damage.

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Father Joseph Weber said the altar was destroyed, as well as the pulpit, Presidential Chair, and the nativity scene.

“The most important table in our parish is the parish altar. The entire parish gathers around that table,” he said. “The fact that it could be arson, that is a very sad statement about one — whoever did it, and two — society as a whole.”

Father Weber said it may take up to three weeks to clean and restore the altar. In the meantime, mass will be held inside St. Monica School.

Police said there was no accelerant used; whoever started the fire likely used the materials that were inside the church. There were also no signs of forced entry. St. Monica’s doors were unlocked.

Police are seeking information and tips from witnesses. You’re asked to call the Creve Coeur Police Detective Bureau at 314-872-2530.