California Man Says Meteorite Destroyed His House and Killed His Dog

“They said it's a one in four trillion chance.”

A man in Northern California claims a meteorite destroyed his home, caused a massive fire, and even killed one of his dogs. Dustin Procita of Nevada County says he heard a loud bang before his house was set on fire. Witnesses in the quiet, rural region say a bright light was seen in the sky just before Procita's home was hit. "I heard a big bang," Procita says. "I started to smell smoke. I went onto my porch and it was completely engulfed in flames." Here's what happened to Procita, and his pets.

Big Bang


According to Procita, the night started like any other—he had fed his cows and was sitting on the couch listening to music when the meteor allegedly hit the property. Procita's two dogs were in the house with him. "I heard a big bang," he says. "I started to smell smoke. I went onto my porch and it was completely engulfed in flames."

House On Fire


Procita managed to save one of his rat terriers, but the other pup was still trapped in the house. Despite his best efforts, he couldn't get into the house to save the other dog. "I tried to go around to the windows but fire and smoke was dumping through and I couldn't see inside," Procita said.

Emergency Call


According to Captain Josh Miller of the Penn Valley Fire Department, an emergency call was made at around 7:30 pm for a structure fire. Because Procita's property was so secluded, they knew it would be a difficult fight. "Wide, open spaces and this was out on a farm, a cattle ranch area with not much around it," Miller says.

Battling Flames

CAL FIRE Nevada-Yuba-Placer Unit/Twitter

Miller's firefighters battled the flames for hours, with the help of Smartsville Fire Department and CalFire, who tweeted about the incident. "Friday at 7:26 pm, CAL FIRE responded with Penn Valley FPD to a Residential Structure Fire near Lake Englebright. E2354 arrived first reporting a well involved trailer and vehicle, with no threat to vegetation. The fire was contained, committing resources for approx. 4 hours."

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Bright Lights


According to Miller, witnesses said they saw a bright light in the sky at the time of the incident. "Everyone I talked to said it was a flaming ball falling from the sky and landed in that general area," Miller says. "I had one individual tell me about it first and I put it in the back of my mind but then more people — 2, 3, 4 — started coming in and talking about it."

The Taurid meteor showers are currently happening in the area, which might explain what happened. "I always watched meteor showers as a kid but I didn't want them landing in my yard or through my roof," Procita says. "They said it's a one in four trillion chance so I guess I might be buying a lottery ticket today."

Ferozan Mast
Ferozan Mast is a science, health and wellness writer with a passion for making science and research-backed information accessible to a general audience. Read more
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