According to the Chico Fire Department, just after 1:00am Thursday morning, a woman in a nearby home heard a loud boom, then a few minutes later smelled smoke. She saw smoke and flames coming from the Church of the Esplanade, located at 1119 Esplanade. When firefighters arrived, flames had ripped through a building connected to the church. They knocked them down quickly, and cut a hole in the roof for ventilation. Fire investigators are hoping someone in the area saw something, or someone suspicious. This is the second time there's been a fire at the church. Three months ago, a mattress that had been in a nearby dumpster was set on fire. No damage was reported. The damage is estimated between $10,000 to $15,000.
The Chico Fire Department now has two active fire investigations. They are looking for the person who set the Hooker Oak stump on fire, as well as this church fire. If you have any information on either case, please call (530) 895-4912. Callers can remain anonymous.