Firefighters are getting the upper hand on a vegetation fire burning in the foothills east of Chico. Now KRCR News Channel 7 has learned the fire is burning on the property where triple murder suspect, 72-year-old Donald Clark, had lived.
The Centerville Fire was reported at 5:23 p.m. Saturday above Helltown Road, west of Centerville Road and east of Butte Creek.
As of Sunday morning it had burned 80 acres and was 85% contained.
Neighbors tell KRCR News Channel 7 squatters have lived on the property and the land is scattered with piles of debris. Some makeshift buildings were burned in the fire.
Neighbors also said the property is where triple murder suspect Donald Clark lived before his arrest in June.
Clark is accused of shooting three people and burning their bodies in a car that was found near Magalia. Investigators said Clark had told one of the victims, 17-year-old Richard Jones Junior, not to return to the property after a previous dispute. Investigators said Jones returned to the property on June 12 with a friend, 15-year-old Roland Lowe, and the Lowe's mother, 46-year-old Colleen Lowe. All three are from Sacramento.
Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey said Clark allegedly shot them as they approached his home on Centerville Road, and later burned the bodies in the car they had driven, an Acura reported stolen from Sacramento. Clark is currently held in the Butte County Jail awaiting trial.
There is a containment line around the perimeter of the fire. CAL FIRE said some of the line still needs to be strengthened. Fire personnel are working on mopping up the interior of the fire area.
Centerville Road is closed at Honey Run Road to all traffic except emergency personnel and residents.
The public is asked to stay out of the area because of the heavy fire truck traffic on the narrow roads.
There are 160 fire personnel on scene.
CAL FIRE estimates the fire will be fully contained by 6 p.m. on Sunday, September 1.