Lunenburg, MA – By Emily Young, Sentinel & Enterprise – A five-alarm fire which destroyed a Lake Shirley home was caused by a propane gas leak and a portable electric heater, officials report.

Fire ripped through a two-story house at 80 Fire Road 12 on Oct. 25. Owner Raymond Berube built the house, where his daughter, Tammy Proulx, was temporarily living with her husband and two children.

Ashby resident Michelle Berube has taken in family members displaced by the fire.

“My father-in-law built the house by hand,” Michelle Berube said Tuesday. “30 something years of gathering and brick work and sanding.”

A portable electric heater located in a bedroom ignited the gas, which was vaporizing close to the heater, said Jon Jones, a spokesman for the Lunenburg Fire Department.

“The initial explosion blew out the bedroom door and many of the structure’s windows,” Jones wrote in a press release.

Jones said the explosion could have been much larger if the space heater had been farther away from the gas leak and more gas had leaked out.

Raymond Berube, his wife, Elaine, and son-in-law, James Proulx, were in the house during the explosion; however, no one was hurt.