Some metro-east residents woke up to Facebook posts early Wednesday morning stating that a meteor had hit and set fire to the ground in rural Clinton County.
Except it wasn’t a meteorite that plummeted to the earth. It was just a controlled fire.
Sugar Creek Fire Department Chief Steve Davis said his department was paged out about 2 a.m. to respond to report of a “possible meteor event” in an area off Luettinger Road, half a mile west of County Line Road between Trenton and New Baden.
The fire department responded with an ambulance and four fire trucks.
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Davis had never before received a call of that nature in 18 years as a firefighter.
“We didn’t know if we were going to see little aliens running around or not,” Davis said. “We didn’t know what to expect. It was very unusual.”
We didn’t know if we were going to see little aliens running around or not.
Steve Davis, Sugar Creek Fire Department chief
But Davis said when he got there, it was “obvious” that it was not a space rock that struck the earth — it was a controlled burn located a quarter-mile off the road into a treeline. He said he saw two burn piles, and estimated that the burn might have been going on for half a day or more.
But Davis said he saw more than five shooting stars in the sky on Tuesday night.
“There was certainly activity in the sky, which may have prompted the caller to make that assumption,” Davis said.
One of the year’s biggest meteor showers — the Geminid meteor shower — peaked on Tuesday night and in the early-morning hours of Wednesday.