PENN VALLEY, Calif. (KTXL) — A Penn Valley man and his wife are without a home after a fire burned it down Friday night, but, as investigators are trying to figure out what happened, more clues are pointing to the possibility of it being caused by a meteorite.
A bright light lit the sky in Penn Valley Friday night, and while security video captured part of it, Dustin Procita was in his living room unaware of what was going on outside.
“Was listening to music waiting for my wife to call,” Procita said. “I heard a loud crash and a bang. When you have livestock on a ranch, you hear things like that quite often.”
A few minutes later, Procita started to smell something burning. The flames came quickly after. His first thought was to save his two dogs. While he was able to save one, his other dog, Tugboat, was trapped inside.
“The smoke was coming out and the flames were coming out and I was going to do my best to get my dog,” Procita said.
After trying everything he could, Procita realized it was too late.
“At that point, I realized my dog wasn’t going to make it,” Procita said.
Procita lives in this home with his wife who also ended up losing three of her rabbits. No one else was hurt. Once everyone was out of the house, firefighters got to the scene.
“The structure was well engulfed in fire and proceeded to initiate extinguishment,” Cpt. Clayton Thomas, with Penn Valley Fire District, said.
The fire was put out just before 9 p.m., and Thomas says people living nearby quickly pointed the finger at a meteorite as the only possible cause.
“Trying to determine if that had anything to do with the cause of the fire or if this is completely unrelated,” Thomas said.
Thomas says there happened to be a meteor shower in that area during that time. For Procita, it was hard to believe.
“They’re great from far away, but they really suck up close,” Procita said.
Since Friday, he says he’s been frustrated because many strangers have stopped by the ranch to try and find the meteorite. But at the same time, he’s thankful for all the support from the community.
“That’s the one thing I do love about this area is the community and the people. We really do stick together,” Pocita said.
A GoFundMe page for the couple was set up to try and help them rebuild their home.