In what authorities say appears to be an enormous coincidence, the Colorado pilot who walked away after his single-engine plane crashed into a suburban Denver house and burst into flames once owned the home.
The pilot, Brian Veatch, was towing a Geico banner en route to Denver's Coors Field in a Piper PA-25 Pawnee on Monday afternoon when the plane lost power, crashing into the rear of a two-story house in Northglenn, Colo., and igniting a fire.
Veatch, a 52-year-old firefighter for South Metro Fire, grabbed a garden hose in an attempt to extinguish the flames.
"I did immediate assessment on myself and realized that I wasn't injured," Veatch told CNN. "I ran up to the back screen door and tried to see if it was unlocked."
When police arrived, the plane was upside-down with its tail section sticking out from the roof.
"I heard a buzz," Jim Kaylor, a neighbor who lives across the street, told the Denver Post. "And a big boom."
Veatch said it wasn't until he ran around the side of the house that he realized "this was a street that I had lived on a decade before." He was treated at the scene and released.
Plane that crashed in Northglenn removed from house pic.twitter.com/nGDiGiK5wg— David Young (@DaveYoungTV) May 6, 2014
According to local property records, Veatch bought the ranch-style home in 2000 and sold it in 2003. Its current owners, Matthew Richardson and Jennifer Monroe, were not home at the time of the crash. Two dogs and a pet lizard, which were inside, survived, fire officials said.
“My house is still standing," Richardson told CBS Denver. "There was a plane sticking out of it earlier, but they got that out. It’s bizarre and unfortunate, but there’s no loss of life and my animals are OK and it’s all material. I have insurance.”
“The fact he didn’t go nose down first, it probably softened the blow," Tom Mace, Veatch's employer at Drag 'n' Fly Banners, told KDVR. "It probably saved his life.”
That the crash occurred at Veatch's former home was "absolutely coincidental," Mace said. For now, local police agree.
"Until we know otherwise, that's what we'll look at it as," Northglenn Police spokesman Ron Haralson told Reuters. He said the crash appeared to be a "one-in-a-million" case of serendipity, according to IBN Live.
The National Transportation Safety Board and Northglenn Police continue to investigate the incident.