Man Says Meteorite Completely Destroyed His Home And Killed One Of His Dogs

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A California man says his house burst into flames when a meteorite fell from the sky and struck it, killing one of his dogs.

Dustin Procita, a rancher in Nevada County, was at home with his two dogs about 60 miles northeast of Sacramento when he suddenly heard "a big bang" in his typically peaceful rural neighborhood, he told NBC affiliate KCRA.

"I started to smell smoke, and I went on to my porch, and it was completely engulfed in flames," Procita said, before going on to describe the incident as a "flaming basketball coming out of the sky."

He went on: "They said it was a meteor, I always watched meteor showers 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 Penn Valley Fire Department were called to the home at 7:26 PM on November 4 and after about three hours were able to contain the fire, with the aid of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire).

Procita's dog died in the fire, which also completely destroyed the man's house, a travel trailer and a pickup truck, Cal Fire spokesperson Mary Eldridge said. According to a GoFundMe, the dog who died in the fire was named Tug.

Officials are not sure what caused the blaze but are carrying out an investigation into whether a meteor could have fallen from the sky and hit Procita's home.

"That is a potential cause, but it's too early to pinpoint one," Fire Captain Clayton Thomas said.

"I can say that during the incident many people approached the fire department to say they saw a potential meteor fall in that area. What we haven't seen yet is any video or witness say that it struck an actual structure."

It could take a number weeks before the department ascertains what caused the ordeal, Capt Thomas added.

“Meteorite, asteroid — one of those two,” the fire department’s captain, Josh Miller, told KCRA. “I had one individual tell me about it first and like, OK, 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.”

Procita's mother, Cindy Blanchard, has since set up a GoFundMe to help raise money for her son, who lost his home and belongings in the incident.

She wrote: On November 4th my son Dustin & his wife Jeanette lost everything to a house fire caused by a meteorite. Their beloved dog Tug, who somehow became trapped inside, perished in the fire.

"It was a total loss. Unfortunately, they do not have any homeowner's or fire insurance due to the rural area they live in and the exorbitantly high premiums. All they have left is literally the clothes on their backs.

"Family is naturally helping as best we can, however, that will not be enough to cover all of the many expenses involved with such a disaster."

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