Fire officials in Northern California are trying to determine if a meteorite started a fire that destroyed a home and killed a dog Friday night.
The Penn Valley Fire Protection District responded to a fire at a home in the rural hills of Nevada County, California, at 7:25 p.m. Friday.
“The incident commander was approached by multiple members of the public who claimed to have seen a bright object fall from the sky in that vicinity, immediately prior to the dispatch and/or ignition of the fire,” Penn Valley told Fire Protection District —Captain Clayton Thomas to USA TODAY.
The fire was brought under control around 8:55 PM, but it resulted in the total loss of the home, the death of the homeowner’s dog and a number of rabbits. According to Thomas, no human injuries have been reported.
Thomas said the homeowner, Dustin Procita, who was in the house, reported hearing a loud bang before the fire ignited. He was able to save one of his dogs, but was unable to enter the house to save the other, Thomas said.
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NASA confirmed reports of a fireball sighting over Northern California Friday around 7:30 PM. The fireball would not be part of the Taurid meteor shower that lit up the sky this weekend, NASA said in a Facebook post.
An astronomer, Professor Stephen Nelson at the University of Tulane estimate the odds of being hit and killed by a meteorite at 1 in 1.6 million.
Thomas helps investigate the cause of the fire, which has not yet been determined. Investigators were still inspecting the site Monday morning. Thomas said it would take several weeks for the investigation to be completed.
The fire service plans to contact NASA and the United States Air Force to assist with the investigation, Thomas said.
A request that USA TODAY sent to NASA was not immediately answered Monday.