Wheatfield Township, MI – “Worst case scenario, this is about the worst,” said Mike Bickley of Williamston.

The worst for Bickley to see his aunt’s home reduced to rubble, after an explosion around 11:00 a.m. Monday lifted the foundation right off the ground.

It took emergency crews about 20 minutes to dig one of two victims out.

“He had to be extricated from the rubble down in the basement by N.I.E.S.A fire department and then he was flown to Sparrow Hospital,” said Det. Sgt. Matthew Flint of the Ingham County Sheriff’s Office.

That male victim, 66 year-old David Nielson, later died due to his injuries, Bickley remembers him as a friendly guy who always had a smile on his face.

“Caring and loving, very caring and loving, especially Dave, I’ve known Dave for a lot of years, he was a school teacher in the school I went to, so I’ve known Dave for a long time and he’s a very caring person,” Bickley said.

Investigators say the explosion was caused accidentally.

“Apparently he was trying to light his pilot light on his propane hot water heater and it must have been a gas build up in the basement or something that caused the explosion,” said William Siegel of Williamston Fire.

Bickley’s aunt, the second victim, 71 year-old Joyce Dyer, was in serious condition when she was transported to the hospital, but her nephew Mike is just thankful she’s still alive.

“Full of joy, really full of joy,” Bickley said.

Joy despite the tragic incident that almost put her life in jeopardy.