UPDATE 11:55 P.M. ET: Bowie, Maryland, Fire Department Chief Jonathan Howard, Sr., says the department never should have suggested the cause of a massive brush fire on Sunday evening could have been the result of a "meteorite strike."
"A tweet was sent out using the official department Twitter account that insinuated that there was a relationship between a meteorite and the cause of fire," Howard said Monday, according to WUSA-TV. "This was simply not so and the post should have never been made listing a cause. Cause and determination is made solely by the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department."
"I apologize for the media attention this has created and have put measures in place to make sure this doesn’t occur again," Howard added.
Original story below
Maryland fire officials say a large brush fire that took several hours to put out might have been caused by a meteorite strike.
The Bowie Volunteer Fire Department responded to reports of a "massive brush fire" Sunday evening, according to WTOP-TV in Washington, D.C. It later tweeted a photo of what it believes could have been the culprit.
39 runs an odd one.. Possible meteorite strike behind Scarlett oak terrace. Causing a massive brush fire. https://t.co/CBQqS02RLV— Bowie Volunteer Fire (@Bowie Volunteer Fire)1461566830.0
"Possible meteorite strike behind Scarlett oak terrace. Causing a massive brush fire," the tweet said, in part.
While firefighters haven't confirmed their theory, they said they found a crater at the site of the fire, with a rock in the bottom of the hole. The rock was left at the scene.
But NASA program scientist Mike Kelley said it's unlikely the brush fire was actually caused by a space object.
“They’re not hot enough when they reach the ground," Kelley said. As for the rock found at the bottom of the hole, Kelley commented, "if you dig down four feet to the left, will you see another rock?”
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