A meteor may be to blame after a home in Northern California burned to the ground over the weekend.
On Friday night, firefighters from the Penn Valley Fire Department in Nevada County responded to a structure fire at the home of Dustin Procita. They fought the blaze for around four hours.
“I heard a big bang,” Procita told KCRA. “I started to smell smoke. I went onto my porch and it was completely engulfed in flames.”
While Procita was able to escape with one of his two dogs, the other perished in the fire.
Around the same time as the blaze, witnesses described seeing a bright ball of light in the sky, which was also captured in nearby Ring camera footage. “Oh wow, looks like a flaming basketball coming out of this sky,” said Procita when he saw the video for himself (above).
“They said it was a meteor,” Procita told KCRA about what possibly started the fire. “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. 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.”
The Southern Taurids meteor shower did take place over the weekend — or “Halloween fireballs” as NASA calls them.
As the Penn Valley Fire Department investigates what started the inferno — which could take up to two weeks — Captain Josh Miller said he too heard talk of a “meteorite, asteroid — one of those two.”
“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,” he told the outlet.
Dustin’s mother started a GoFundMe for her son and his wife, saying the pair “lost everything” in the fire. “It was a a total loss,” she added, saying the pair don’t have homeowner’s or fire insurance “due to the rural area they live in and the exorbitantly high premiums.”