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‘Flaming basketball’ that fell from the sky may have been a meteor that destroyed a California home

Dustin Procita was in his Nevada County home Friday with his two dogs when he heard "a big bang" in his usually quiet community, he told NBC affiliate KCRA.
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A possible meteor caught on video that “looks like a flaming basketball” falling from the sky may have destroyed a Northern California man’s home last week.

Dustin Procita was in his home with his two dogs Friday in Nevada County, about 60 miles northeast of Sacramento, when he heard "a big bang" in his usually quiet community, he told NBC affiliate NBC affiliate KCRA of Sacramento.

"I started to smell smoke, and I went on to my porch, and it was completely engulfed in flames," Procita told KCRA.

The Penn Valley Fire Department got a call about the fire at around 7:26 p.m. and responded to the home on Englebright Dam Road. With assistance from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or Cal Fire, the fire was contained almost three hours later, Cal Fire spokesperson Mary Eldridge told NBC News.

A dog died in the fire, which consumed a house, a travel trailer and a pickup truck, Eldridge said.

Authorities are investigating whether a meteor could have fallen from the sky onto Procita's home.

“That is a potential cause, but it's too early to pinpoint one," Fire Capt. 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 be several weeks before the department determines a cause, Thomas added.

According to NASA, every year from September through November the Earth is hit by debris and dust left behind by Comet Encke. The debris "hits the Earth’s atmosphere at 65,000 mph and burns up" creating what the agency calls the Taurid meteor shower.

"Most years the shower is weak, and only a few Taurid meteors can be seen each night," NASA said in a 2015 blog post. "Other years, the Taurids can put on a show."

When he was shown a video of the possible meteorite that had fallen in the area, Procita said it looked like a "flaming basketball."

"Definitely feel very lucky that it was 30 feet away from me and not 5," Procita told KCRA.

Procita said he considers himself lucky.

"They said it's a 1 in 4 trillion chance, so I guess I might be buying a lottery ticket today," he told KCRA.