[meteorite-list] New Hampshire Residents Say Meteorite Landed In Yard

From: Ron Baalke <baalke_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Thu Apr 22 09:37:31 2004
Message-ID: <200012051659.IAA23684_at_zagami.jpl.nasa.gov>


Visitor from space blamed in field fire

Residents say meteorite landed in yard
Tuesday, December 5, 2000
Concord Monitor (New Hampshire)

SALISBURY - The scene was quiet by the time Salisbury firefighters got
there. Neighbors had doused the backyard fire that had prompted the call,
and the meteorite that had started the ground fire had stopped blazing.

Yes, a meteorite.

At least that's what residents report.

Salisbury's extraterrestrial visitor slammed into the backyard of 129
Hensmith Road a little after 5 p.m. yesterday, according to witnesses,
burying itself in the ground and starting a small fire.

Stunned residents described the falling ball of fire to Fire Chief Edwin

"When we got there they told me they saw this meteorite come in," Bowne
said. "I've been doing this for 30 years. I've never seen anything like it

He said the falling rock had started a flame that burned about an 18-inch
area, and that the ground was muddy from residents pouring buckets of water
on the small fire.

"It's there," he said. "Buried in the mud."

The New England Meteoritical Services reports that the recovered mass of
meteorites is some of the scarcest material on Earth, much sought after by
researchers and collectors.

So, it's not so surprising that this was a first for New Hampshire fire

"It's a little weird for my book," said the fire dispatcher who dealt with
the call. "I've never had anything drop out of the sky on my watch."

He said the National Weather Service, which he called for advice, didn't
know what to do about the meteoritic visitor either.

"They said, 'We just predict the weather; we don't predict stuff falling out
of the sky.' "

According to the New England Meteoritical Services, meteorites are
essentially shooting stars that make it to the ground. The majority, it
reports on its Web site, originate from asteroids that have shattered. A
smaller number come from the moon, comets or the planet Mars.

"It's so weird," the dispatcher said. "That's all I can say."

The owner of the landing site could not be reached for comment last night.

Other residents on the street said they had heard or seen the fire trucks,
but did not get a glimpse of the meteorite itself. And given their
inexperience with visits from outer space, some of these residents may have
been just a teensy bit skeptical.

"I know we're a good place to land in," said Peter Merkes, a Hensmith

As for the meteoritic cause of the fire?

"Sounds like a great excuse," said resident Jerry Lorden with a laugh.
Received on Tue 05 Dec 2000 11:59:10 AM PST

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