A man in Northern California believes a meteor fell from the night sky and landed on his property, destroying his home in a massive fire.
Officials are investigating the possibility that the bright flaming ball seen by several people across the region was a meteorite that caused the fire in Nevada County on Friday night.
Dustin Procita told KCRA that he was inside the house with his two dogs when something hit the house and started the fire.
‘I heard a big bang,’ he said. ‘I started to smell smoke. I went onto my porch and it was completely engulfed in flames.’
Several people from across the region captured the bright ball of fire as it lit up the dark California sky around 7:30 p.m. on Friday evening
The odds of being hit by a meteor – one in four trillion – are far less likely than winning the Powerball jackpot – one in 292.2 million. The current Powerball jackpot is $1.9 billion, with the next drawing scheduled for Monday night.
The ball of light was captured on a Ring camera by a homeowner in Redding, California. The video shows a bright fireball flashing in the sky before descending into the distance.
Several other people recorded the fireball as it fell to the ground, seemingly in the middle of nowhere.
Procita said he wasn’t sure what it was at first, but after hearing about the fireball lighting up the night sky, he believes it was a meteor that landed right on his house.
‘I’ve always watched meteor showers and stuff as a kid, but I definitely didn’t look forward to them landing in my yard or through my roof,’ he told KCRA.
‘I did not see what it was, but from everybody I talked to — was a flaming ball falling from the sky, landed in that general area.’
Officials with the Penn Valley Fire Department and Cal Fire battled the flames for hours. They’re investigating what started the fire in this rural area, and say it might have been a meteorite.
‘Meteorite, asteroid — one of those two,’ Captain Josh Miller said. ‘I had one individual tell me about it first and like, okay, I’ll put that in the back of my mind. But then more people — two, three or four more started coming in and talking about it.’
And when Procita saw video of the fireball for the first time, he was convinced.
‘Oh wow, looks like a flaming basketball coming out of this sky,’ Procita said, watching the footage. ‘Definitely feel very lucky that it was 30 feet away from me and not five.’
While Procita says he feels fortunate it was not worse, he and his wife Jeanette lost everything in the fire, including one of their two family dogs.
Their beloved dog Tug, who somehow became trapped inside, perished in the fire, according to a GoFundMe set up by a family member. The house is a total loss.
The area of Nevada County where the meteor hit is a secluded area of rolling hills and neighbors are spread out.
‘Wide, open spaces and this was out on a farm, a cattle ranch area with not much around it,’ Miller said.
‘They say it’s a one in four trillion chance, so I guess I might be buying a lottery ticket today,’ Procita joked, referring to the odds of a meteor hitting them in the middle of the rural area.
Miller told KCRA that he didn’t see the bright ball in the sky, but everyone he talked to said it looked like a flaming ball falling from the sky.
Some witnesses even followed it until it landed on the Procitas’ property.
‘I had one person tell me about it first, and I put it in the back of my mind,’ Miller explained, ‘but then more people — 2, 3, 4 — started coming in and talking about it.’
According to KCRA, the southern Taurids meteor showers are occurring at this time, with the peak occurring this weekend.