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Between Alto and Nacogdoches a warped and melted vial was discovered that could be a test tube from the space shuttle Columbia.

Witnesses say it smoldered for hours. A piece of what appears to be some type of hydraulic arm was found in the same area.

At the Alto Housing Project, a hunk of smoldering metal crashed through tree limbs and landed in one woman's front yard.

"Mrs. Hamilton said she heard a loud explosion this morning, then found this debris in her front yard and called me to see what it was," said Deputy Lee Sterling.

Deputy Starling, like many law enforcement members across the state, has been standing guard at that site since that call this morning.

Also in Alto, a Tyler man was enjoying a morning of riding his four wheeler at a motor cross park when came across more of the debris, and picked it up to get it out of the pathway.

As he picked it up, Ron Speer noticed the NASA markings and he realized it must be part of the space shuttle, so he boxed it up for safe keeping.

"It was a smoldering piece of metal with bolts on it that say NASA, looked like pieces of the space shuttle," said Speer.

He says when he called 911, they told him he should not have picked it up. Fortunately he was wearing leather gloves at the time.