A rare meteorite strike may be to blame for a fire that destroyed one couple's home and two vehicles parked outside in Nevada County on Friday.
The fire began after multiple people reported seeing a large bright object shoot across the sky in the direction of Dustin Procita's ranch, in the Mooney Flat area of Nevada County. As KTVU reports, Procita said he heard a loud bang and then saw that his porch was on fire.
The bang occurred around 7:25 p.m. and the fire ultimately engulfed the home as well as a car and a truck parked next to it. A pet dog and rabbits were also killed in the blaze, as the Chronicle reports, but Procita was uninjured.
It is exceedingly rare for meteors to make it through the atmosphere and strike the ground as meteorites before burning up. But this flash in the sky and subsequent fire occurred during the Taurid meteor shower that was ongoing last week.
KCRA obtained some Ring camera footage from nearby that shows the bright light approach from the sky and hit the ground. And neighbors reportedly came to the scene of the fire after they saw the bright fireball nearby.
"I’ve been an investigator for 12 years and in the fire service for 25. I’ve never been to a fire that was caused by a meteor," says Fire Captain Clayton Thomas of the Penn Valley Fire District, speaking to the Chronicle. “But at this point, because our investigation isn’t done, I can’t rule that out as a possibility. They have struck homes throughout the world in the past."
Procita says he and his wife are trying to look on the bright side.
"They said it's a 1 in 4 trillion chance so I guess I might be buying a lottery ticket today," Procita said, speaking to KCRA.
Investigators plan to reach out to NASA and the U.S. Air Force to see if they have a record of a meteorite hitting the ground around that time on Friday.
Photo: Cal Fire NEU/Twitter