The ‘hot basketball’ that fell from the sky may have been the meteor that destroyed the house in California
A possible meteor caught on video that “looks like a flaming basketball” falling from the sky may have destroyed a Northern California man’s home last week.
Dustin Procita was at his home with his two dogs Friday in Nevada County, about 60 miles northeast of Sacramento, when he heard a “big bang” in his usually quiet community, he told the NBC affiliate NBC affiliate KCRA of Sacramento.
“I started smelling smoke and I went up to my porch and it was completely engulfed in flames,” Procita told KCRA.
The Penn Valley Fire Department received a call about the fire around 7:26 p.m. and responded to a home on Englebright Dam Road. With the help of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or Cal Fire, the fire was brought under control nearly three hours later, Cal Fire spokeswoman Mary Eldridge told NBC News.
The dog died in the fire that engulfed the house, travel trailer and pickup truck, Eldridge said.
Authorities are investigating whether a meteor could have fallen from the sky onto Procita’s home.
“It’s a potential cause, but it’s too early to determine one,” said Fire Capt. Clayton Thomas. “I can say that during the incident many people approached the fire department and said they saw a potential meteor falling in the area. What we haven’t seen yet is any video or witnesses saying it hit an actual structure.”
It could be several weeks before the department determines the cause, Thomas added.
According to NASA, every year from September to November the Earth is hit by debris and dust left by comet Encke. The debris “hits Earth’s atmosphere at 65,000 miles per hour and burns up” creating what the agency calls the Taurid meteor shower.
“Most years the shower is weak, and only a few Taurid meteors can be seen each night,” NASA reported in a 2015 blog post. “Other years, the Taurids can put on a show.”
When shown a video of a possible meteorite falling in the area, Procita said it looked like a “burning basketball.”
“I definitely feel very fortunate that it was 30 feet from me and not 5,” Procita told KCRA.
Procita said he considers himself lucky.
“They said it was a 1 in 4 trillion chance, so I guess I could buy a lottery ticket today,” he told KCRA.
This article was originally published on NBCNews.com
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