Fire officials debunk report of possible meteorite strike causing brush fire in Bowie

A large pit and what appears to be a meteorite, according to the original tweet sent out early Monday. (Bowie Volunteer Fire Department)

BOWIE, Md. (WJLA) - Fire officials in Prince George's County are debunking an earlier report that a brush fire in Bowie Sunday evening was possibly caused by a meteorite strike.

The Bowie Volunteer Fire Department responded to the area behind Scarlett Oak Terrace for reports of the fire.

Someone tweeted photos of the scene at approximately 2:47 a.m. Monday from the Bowie Volunteer Fire Department Twitter account, saying, in part, "Possible meteorite strike behind Scarlett oak terrace. Causing a massive brush fire."

But Monday afternoon, Jonathan D. Howard Sr., chief of the Bowie Volunteer Fire Department, issued the following statement:

Yesterday afternoon at approximately 6:00 pm, units from the Bowie Volunteer Fire Department found a large brush fire, in the wooded area of White Marsh Park. The fire, approximately 2 acres total, was located in a remote wooded area about 3/4 of a mile off Annapolis Road.
When firefighters made it to the site, there was a large pit, which was 12-15 feet wide by 5-6 feet deep involved, which spread to the adjacent trees and brush. It took approximately 15 Firefighters, 4 hours to extinguish.
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. 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.
As the Chief of the Bowie Volunteer Fire Department, I apologize for the media attention this has created and have put measures in place to make sure this doesn't occur again.

Mark E. Brady, PGFD chief spokesperson, tweeted this statement:

"The Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department Office of the Fire Marshal dispatched investigators to the scene this morning in an attempt to determine cause and origin of this fire. At this point the findings are 'undetermined.'"

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