Dallas, Feb. 1: Residents of north Texas said they saw flames and heard a window-rattling boom today about the time the space shuttle Columbia apparently disintegrated on its way to a scheduled landing at Cape Canaveral.
“I was getting ready to go out and I heard a big bang and the windows shook in the house,” said John Ferolito, 60, of Carrolton, north of Dallas. “I thought it was a sonic boom.”
Helen Watts with the Dallas fire department said search and rescue teams were on standby but had not been dispatched to any locations. Gary Hunziker in Plano said he saw the shuttle flying overhead. “I could see two bright objects flying off each side of it,” he said. Louisiana state police in Bossier City, 182 miles east of Dallas, got so many calls that one trooper had to be assigned just to answer the phone. “One said he saw a plane breaking up over Shreveport. One said he saw a big ball of fire. One guy said a blast shook his house,” police said.