Meteorite not cause of California home fire, officials say

California firefighters reportedly said a house that caught fire in rural Nevada county earlier this month was not hit by a meteorite.

Penn Valley Fire Protection District Captain Clayton Thomas told The Sacramento Bee on Monday that investigators have investigated the cause of the Nov. 4 fire.

“I’m very confident that a rock from outer space did not hit this house,” he told the outlet.

The Penn Valley Fire Protection District, CAL FIRE Nevada-Yuba-Placer Unit and others responded to the fire in the Mooney Flat area near Englebright Lake.

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It took several hours to put out the evening fire, which killed the Tug family dog ​​and rabbits at the ranch home, according to FOX 40.

In a Facebook post, the Penn Valley Fire Protection District previously said witnesses reported that a “bright object fell from the sky immediately prior to this event in the same area.”

The Penn Valley Fire Protection District outside the California home

The Penn Valley Fire Protection District outside the California home
(Credit: Penn Valley Fire Protection District/Facebook)

Social media users shared images and videos of a bright yellowish light crossing the sky, and NPR reported that neighbors told arriving firefighters they heard a thunder crash around the same time. where the fire allegedly started.

Owner Dustin Procita told FOX 40 he heard a loud crash and a bang before he started to smell something burning.

“Smoke was coming out and flames were coming out and I was going to do my best to get my dog ​​back,” he recalled.

However, Thomas reported that investigators found no evidence of a space rock impacting the structure.

“We don’t see a meteor as a viable option at this time,” he told The Sacramento Bee.

A CAL FIRE Nevada-Yuba-Placer member at the scene

A CAL FIRE Nevada-Yuba-Placer member at the scene
(Credit: CAL FIRE Nevada-Yuba-Placer Unit/Twitter)

However, the cause of the fire has not yet been determined.

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Family members have started a GoFundMe for Procita and his wife Jeanette, who are looking for a caravan to live in while they rebuild.

The page says the couple have no homeowners or fire insurance “due to the rural area they live in and the exorbitant premiums”.

“We are still digging through the ruble looking for anything salvageable as well as the meteor itself. Firefighters, the Air Force and NASA continue to help with the search,” an update from the page.

CAL FIRE Nevada-Yuba-Placer Unit Responds to California Fire

CAL FIRE Nevada-Yuba-Placer Unit Responds to California Fire
(Credit: CAL FIRE Nevada-Yuba-Placer Unit/Twitter)

Speaking to NPR, Thomas noted that November 4 was the peak of the Southern Taurids meteor shower.

And yet Robert Lunsford, the report’s coordinator for the American Meteor Society, said the estimated trajectory tied to the flash of light seen in the northern California sky put it hundreds of miles from the house of Penn Valley.

Most meteors burn up in Earth’s atmosphere and are much cooler – and known as meteorites – by the time they hit the ground.

In theory, NASA says that the Taurids and Geminids could send meteorites to our surface from time to time, but no remains have been found definitively.

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Although the odds of someone’s house being hit by a meteor are astronomically low, they are not zero.

“But coincidence doesn’t equal causation,” Thomas said.

Fox News Digital’s request for comment to Thomas and the Penn Valley Fire Protection District was not immediately returned.

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