Stoughton, WI – The Stoughton Fire Department said an investigation has determined that a duplex explosion and fire on Christmas Eve that displaced two families was accidental.

Scott Wegner, Stoughton’s deputy fire chief and fire marshal, said the likely cause of the explosion and fire on Dec. 24 was washing equipment in the basement of duplex that vibrated and turned on a gas valve, causing a natural gas leak.

One of the families said the fire ended a difficult year that included layoffs, health problems and recovering from foreclosure, but family members said they are still hopeful and relying on each other.

“All of sudden, there was a huge explosion underneath me. I could feel it, the whole house shook,” said Michelle Roeske, who was alone in the house during the fire. “It’s kind of hard to think about it, just because I could not be here right now, like simply if I took a shower downstairs. But fate stepped in, and I’m here today, and I’m thankful that I’m here.”

“It’s all gone — our pictures, stuff from my mom. It’s all gone, but everybody’s OK,” said Delaine “Bic” Fuller.

Roeske and her parents are staying with a relative.