Camera Lens Falls From Sky Through Roof Of Petaluma Home

PETALUMA (CBS SF) – Petaluma police were working to track down the owner of a camera lens that apparently fell from the sky earlier this month, damaging a local family’s home.

Debbie Payne, 55, said she found the approximately two-pound, 9-inch Canon camera lens outside of her home on Friday, Sept. 2, after hearing a loud crash that shook the two-story house, left a hole in her roof and sliced through two window screens.

She said the noise was loud enough to startle her next-door neighbor, who quickly spotted a piece of the camera lens next to a truck parked in his driveway.

After reviewing Payne’s mailed-in police report on Wednesday, officers are now tracking the lens’ serial number and working with the Petaluma Airport and the Federal Aviation Administration to determine whether the part may have fallen from a plane.

Payne said she didn’t see any aircraft near her home at the time of the incident.

The longtime Petaluma resident said she hopes to recoup the $1,000 insurance deductible she paid to fix the damage to her roof and screens, which contractors estimated would cost about $4,500 to repair.

But mostly, Payne said, she’s grateful the lens didn’t cause further harm—especially since she lives about 200 feet from an elementary school.

“It would have killed someone, had there been someone underneath the lens,” she said.

hole in roof Camera Lens Falls From Sky Through Roof Of Petaluma Home

A hole caused by a falling camera lens in the roof of a home in Petaluma. (Bay City News)

FAA spokesman Ian Gregor said that while he’s never heard of a camera lens falling from an aircraft, objects such as plane parts and ice chunks do sometimes fall during flights, though rarely.

“This is an unusual occurrence—even proving this came from an aircraft could be difficult,” he said.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

  • Dana

    The Payne Show, LOL

  • Jeb

    Good one Dana….playing off The Truman Show…for those who didn’t get it. :)

  • Mike

    Anyone else thinking of the Truman Show?

  • Andrew

    Probably a local hobbyist tooling around with his Hexacopter – not realizing his camera’s lens wasn’t firmly attached. Putz.

  • Will Ellingham

    There is a good deal of hot-air balloon activity in that area…I would suspect that or that it dropped from the vest of a skydiver…

    • Bunsen Honeydew

      True. Sky divers often carry extra lenses, flash cards, and batteries for their SLR/DSLR cameras for mid flight change. Sometimes a 28mm doesn’t cut it and you might need to throw the 10-22mm on there. Plus if you hit bugs on the way down you may need to clean your lens mid flight. I’m guessing that’s what happened.

      Sheesh people…

      • Davina

        None of what you said here is true. There is no time in a jump to carry out these sorts of changes, and the wind speed would make it impossible to do so anyway. Plus, hitting insects on the way down is virtually never a problem since insects aren’t found at altitude. If this lens fell from a skydiver’s camera, it fell simply because it was poorly attached before leaving the plane. You are an idiot.

      • Josh

        Davnia…sadly, sarcasm is lost on you…

      • Ted

        [sarcasm on] I hope sure hope no one takes your comments seriously Dr. Honeydew. They might think your an idiot. [sarcasm off]

  • Walter

    “This is an unusual occurrence—even proving this came from an aircraft could be difficult,” he said.——Well where does he think it came from, a UFO?

    • Ellis Vener

      “Camera lenses are classified by their focal lengths, measured in MMs…not inches. That effectively describes about 10 lenses.”

      Seems pretty clear to me the article is referring to the physical size of the lens, not its focal length.
      And really serious aerial photographers use Leica S2 cameras.

      • Brent

        Hope the Leica S2 comment was sarcasm….

    • Yirmin Snipe

      Actually we know it came from something flying overhead… and since the something is unidentified… well the fact is, it came from a UFO (unidentified flying object), somebody call Scully and Mulder.

      • Bunsen Honeydew

        Camera lenses are classified by their focal lengths, measured in MMs…not inches. That effectively describes about 10 lenses.

      • James Stemple Senior

        Well they have the serial number from it and well that pretty much effectively describes everything about it except its mode of travel.

      • Jim

        It was identified as a 9 inch Canon camera lens. Still yet to be determined is how it made its travel.

    • jelly

      Flying monkeys.

    • Booger McCoy

      WELL!?! Not all aliens love Nikon lenses, you know.

  • George

    Doesn’t look $4500.00 worth of damage I think someone is padding the bill to scam the insurance company. I am a contractor and based on the damage i see maybe 500 to a thousand in damage. 3 to 4 hours work two guys and $100.00 materials.

    • JC

      Engineering inspection 700.00
      Plans 500.00
      OSHA ladder permit 200.00
      asbestos permit for testing the shingles 600.00
      Abatement of the roof shingles 600.00
      Building permit review fees 400.00
      Building permit 400.00
      Demolition permit 300.00
      Barricade work-site per OSHA standards 400.00
      Scaffolding permit per OSHA 300.00
      Actual Demolition 100.00
      Repair wood 200.00
      Roofing permit 300.00
      Repair roof 120.00
      New screens 75.00
      Paint 120.00
      California workers comp for project 650.00
      Liability insurance when the lawyers start fantasy suing 300.00
      Clean up 50.00
      Final inspection fee 250.00
      Contractors 20% Profit and Overhead 800.00

      She got a great deal, It should have cost her 6800.00 plus…..Someone must be cheating the system,, Send an Investigator in !!!!!

      • Diraphe

        Funny how most of the overhead comes from all the permits needed for such a simple repair. What else can you expect when the government sticks its nose into everything and feels the need to put regulations on every little thing; and we wonder why businesses are hesitant to hire new employees?

      • Bunsen Honeydew

        While you were busy being funny, you “conveniently” left out any applicable environmental impact fees, which should be upwards of $7900.

        I think your comment qualifies needing to be reported to for President Re-elect Obama.


      • Alburt Hendrix

        Turn it in to!

      • alansanmateo

        you people really have no freakin idea what you are talking about, do you?

        You really have to wonder why someone would take this much time to post something that bashes the government.

        Weirdos are among us, tha’ts for certain.

        Imagine how great the internet would be if ignorant people couldn’t post? I need to find myself some websites that keep the dopes out. If only new sites would do this. NYTimes does, and the discussions there are 10,000 X more valuable that what you get on sites like this. I know it costs $$ to monitor and moderate the posts, but it sure does make the experience better.

      • david

        Having the NY times filter your news for poitical correctness could leave you uninformed.

      • dale blank

        TOO TRUE
        that is why i left CA in 96

      • Betty

        Let’s not forget a Bog Turtle Environmental study for the next two years. Because we are disturbing the landscape with the OSHA ladder.

      • VrwCHENEY

        Does Allen jive under a rock? Brain dead moron…where have you been???

      • wal

        JC,You don’t need an engineer or plans to fix a fist sized hole in the roof. Your highly inflated estimate is pure bunk and you know it. You would lead us to believe that all contractors are thieves with that lame justification.
        Shame on you.

      • Timothy James

        Pull the stick out and get over yourself! Seriously, this is just a bunch of people having fun with a freak accident! This thread has produced some great laughs.

      • Spencer Hart

        You forgot to add in the potential lead paint testing and abatement cost.

    • MB

      Bunch of freaking idiots posting today…
      yeah its the “Liberals” fault and yeah Its “Obamas” fault….
      sheeesh people, get a clue, get a job and get a LIFE

      • Fashionable Foil

        Sheeesh MB that sounds like an aweful lot to get… maybe you could just get a sense of humor instead. lol

      • Chicago Nick

        Or perhaps he too should ‘get a job’, ….. since he assumes everyone posting here doesn’t have one, he must not either… ;) Hope and Change

      • caligula

        get a sense of humor d i p s h i t.

    • Bill Duke

      Exactly. No way that is $4500 in damage

    • Truth Detector

      Ah, but you’re not a “contactor [sic]” as referenced in the story.

    • Tony

      This is California, She most of the cost will be for environmental impact studies the repairs may cause and taxes.

    • bd maus

      Yea, that is a good estimate. LOL $#4500!

    • Rob

      My thought exactly. If that’s $4500 in damages, then I understand why house prices are so high in California.

  • Jody Cortes

    Got to know.. what BRAND was the lens.. Nikon or Canon.. yes it matters.

    • ProofReader

      “Debbie Payne, 55, said she found the approximately two-pound, 9-inch Canon camera lens outside of her home on Friday, Sept. 2”

    • Chris Trainor

      Read the article… clearly states Canon in the 2nd paragraph.

  • john

    Obviously a Canon lens. A Nikon lens would have survived……

    • Ace

      Really mess with her head… try again with a Nikon. Poor old woman wouldn’t know WHAT to think.

    • eyesky

      The pros all use Canon duties. NIKON is for amateurs like yourself.

      I’m an aerial photographer and on occasion I change lenses in flight. One slip and…oops.

      • F-stop66

        Nikon shooters don’t need to change lenses in flight. I do aerial photography professionally and I use a NIKON.

      • 7hitman

        you are an amateur

      • Timothy James

        Seriously? You believe all Pros use Canon? I have been a working professional for nearly 25 years and I shoot Nikon. I belong to a few professional organizations and the Nikon vs. Canon users is split just about 50/40 with more users using Canon. The other 10% use other systems such as Sony.
        A real professional uses the system that works for them.

  • Truth Detector

    “The longtime Petaluma resident said she hopes to recoup the $1,000 insurance deductible she paid to fix the damage to her roof and screens, which contactors [sic] estimated would cost about $4,500 to repair.”

    Well, that’s the problem. She should have contractors, not contactors, do this job for less.

  • Truth Detector

    So Chicken LIttle was right?

    • Timothy James

      Can you imagine? But then again, that was an Apple, not a PC.

  • Nude at Fisherman's Wharf

    Never saw that coming.

  • Government Estimator

    I’d have given her a $45,000 estimate. But that’s just me.

  • Canon 5D MKII lenses are FALLING off (7D also).

    […] seen, it’s not hard to imagine that the lens slipped off during an aerial photo session. Details on that incedent here. This raises the question. How long till someone really gets hurt because of Canon lack of […]

  • James

    $4,500 in damage! Looks more like $450 damage to me. You can replace the entire roof for $4,500. Looks like the homeowners are getting taken.

    • Rick G

      Maybe she is replacing the entire roof. Can’t have a roof made of material that camera lenses can fall through. The next camera lens that drops through her roof might kill somebody.

      Besides, she has been traumatized. That is worth a lot, according to Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton.

      I am thinking about getting a new roof myself because of this. I can’t sleep at night worrying about camera lenses falling through my ceiling and killing me.

  • Cincinnatus

    Wow – $4500 for that repair? This lady is getting seriously ripped off here. That should cost a $1000 tops.

  • sitonmeshamrock

    No wonder someone tossed it out of a plane. It’s a piece of junk!

    • rador

      It is now.

  • justus

    Oh my 4,500.00 with 1000 de for that little hole. This poor lady got ripped twice in one day. Finding the owner of this lens is like thinking the unemployment rate going to 6% by the year 2016.

  • DavosSherman

    $4,500.00. You have gotta be effing kidding me!

  • RufusVonDufus

    I’d have to see what she looks like before determining how much the estimate would be. Could be as little as zero, who know.

  • RufusVonDufus

    “who knows,” not who know!

  • Doug

    Could it have been shot upward out of a compressed air cannon; potato/pumpkin cannon like on TV

    • Bruce W.

      Well, it was a Canon lens, after all… seems plausible to me.

  • RufusVonDufus

    I know a guy what could fix that hole with a piece of tin, four roofing nails and a little can of roof cement. Materials, $2.98; labor $4,497.02

    • alansanmateo

      and THIS is why permits should be required for such small jobs

      • Rupert Pupkin

        Why Alan? The solution indicated above is effective and practical (except the labor fee ;-)

        So I ask again, why Alan? No need to reply Alan, I’ll answer for you. It’s because it doesn’t fit in to your statist, government nanny state world view that people do not require government interference into every minute aspect of their lives.

      • Steve

        Alan, Alan, Alan, have you no sense of humor?!
        On a more serious note, what would your permit accomplish? Are you suggesting it would prevent the cheap fix, or would regulate the profit?

      • rador

        Alan, I’ve seen your comments and you appear to be partisan to the point of being irrational. The humor directed at the estimate is warranted because people know that regulation and confiscatory policies pass costs to the consumer. And American’s are well aware that California is mired in both regulation and taxation. 4,500 for this work IS suspect and should probably have been itemized for the readers. I’ll bet is not far off from the estimate above.

  • gringo

    Could it have come from a government spy satellite. Has Ms. Payne said anything bad about Obama lately ??

  • Bush's Fault~!!!!!

    when I was flying with O-Bama on his majik carpet- I accidently dropped my camera- opps~!
    at least now I can ride my bike over and claim it-
    sorry lady-

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