I've got a little more experience with meteors and fireballs than most people and from what you have described it sounds almost like a text book fireball. There are occasionaly sounds like what you described that have been observed that can be very localized and last for quite a while. Can't exactly explain it myself but have heard quite a bit about it. For some reason they are often heard before the actual fireball is seen but not very long (if at all) after it passes. No one can really explain why this happens but it has been known to happen many times. The fact that there was a lot of UFO activity that same night doens't mean that there really were UFO's that night because it could just as easily mean quite a few people saw the same bolide (large fireball). Not only that but ones of good size can easily be seen across many states and still not hit anything (or could crash in the ocean even if it did hit).
I'm really envious of you not because I wish that I could see a UFO but I would have loved to have experienced such an incredible bolide.
As far as my personal beliefs, I do believe in alien life and UFO's whole heartedly. I don't really know if I believe the abductions and whatnot but I can very easily see our planet being visited by species from other planets. Even if we aren't visited by anyone then I can't see how we could be totally alone in the universe. To borrow a line from the movie Contact describing the possibility that we are alone in the universe, "It sure seems like an awful waste of space."
That being said, I do believe in UFO's but I very seriously doubt that was what happened that night. Email me privately as I would love to get some more information from you about this.
I don't need to fight
To prove I'm right
I don't need to be forgiven.