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Space Rocks Blasted South Suburbs Back In 2003

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Robert Garza and his little brother look at damage from a space rock. (Credit: fallingrocks.com)

Robert Garza and his little brother look at damage from a space rock in 2003. (Credit: fallingrocks.com)

CHICAGO (CBS) — The damage from the meteorite that exploded over Russia on Friday is fairly rare, but a south suburb was hit similar space debris about 10 years ago.

Unlike in Russia, nobody was injured when fragments from a meteorite rained down on Park Forest shortly after midnight in March 2003.

Noe Garza well remembers the night the meteorite came crashing through his roof with a boom and a bright flash of light.

Several pieces landed inside the Garza home. The biggest was a six-pounder coming to rest in a bedroom three feet from Garza’s then 12 year-old son, Robert.

The father says for his family, the meteorites turned out to be a blessing.

“We made a little money on it, paid off our bills,” he says.

His son still has a piece, locked away.

Michael McNamara also remembers the meteorite. The Park Forest Deputy Police Chief showed CBS 2 the golf-sized meteorite that hit what was then the village’s fire department’s roof.

The piece of rock is now kept locked-up in the police department’s evidence safe.

Others reported damage to cars, siding, and windows, but no one was injured.

“They thought we were being attacked, because that was when we were having all the problems with the terrorists,” McNamara.

Astronomers then said the meteorite, about the size of a car, exploded in the sky above Illinois and showered space stones from Bloomington to the south suburbs.

The debris hammered homes, dented cars and shattered windows.