SHAWNEE, Kan. -- Christmas lights are to blame for a fire at a Shawnee home. But the quick actions by a 13-year-old likely saved the lives of those inside.
"We always coach him, if there’s a fire grab the girls and get out," Kyle Elliott said.
And that's exactly what Kyle Elliott's 13-year-old son Nicholas did Friday afternoon when he heard crackling noises outside his bedroom window.
"I looked outside, and I saw smoke coming from the house and flames in the gutter."
Nicholas told the babysitter what he saw and the two grabbed his 4-year-old and 7-year-old sisters and got out of the house.
"My sisters were scared."
Nicholas said he stayed calm.
"We rushed and got the hose and started spraying water on it."
Firefighters arrived about five minutes later and were able to put out the fire while also managing to save the family's Christmas gifts.
Not only were they fighting the fire, they were caring about the family at the same time.
Firefighters said Christmas lights were to blame.
According to the fire marshal, the Christmas lights had arched against the metal guttering, and caught the leaves on fire that were in the gutter.
The fire damaged several rooms near the front of the house including the garage.
Elliott said he's always put up decorations for the holidays, but he'll be reluctant to put up lights next year.
"Between my wife and I, I think there may not be lights on the house for a while. It's a pretty traumatic experience.