A house fire Tuesday night will make this year's Christmas memorable for two families in central Lawrence.
Rosie Hull, a 17-year-old Free State High School student, said she was watching a Christmas movie with her family in the basement of their home in the 1600 block of Oxford Road when her mother noticed a flashing light outside their windows.
That light was from flames engulfing their neighbors' garage.
Their neighbors, Matthew and Amanda Kapfer, were in their home, 1625 Oxford Road, at the time of the fire with their four children, all under age 9.
Hull said she called Lawrence police before running outside. Her mother called their neighbors to alert them that their garage and breezeway were on fire.
"I ran outside and it was already up in flames, their garage part," Hull said.
"My dad's first instinct was to grab our hose," she said. "He ran over and kind of tried to put it out, or basically was just trying to secure our house because we share driveways. We wanted him to get away because we didn't know if the car was going to blow up."
The cause of the fire remained under investigation Wednesday evening, according to Lawrence-Douglas County Fire & Medical Division Chief Doug Green. Green said preliminary damage estimates were set at $55,000.
"I was outside actually just kind of taking it in, and I saw the mother and the four little children rushing through the door, running out," Hull said. "None of them had shoes on, and my mom hurried them over to our house, and my other two sisters took care of them."
The Kapfer family stayed at the Hulls' home for about an hour before relatives came, Hull said.
"The kids were most concerned about their Christmas presents, if their Christmas presents were going to be OK," Hull said.
No one was injured in the fire, Green said. Two dogs that were in the house both escaped. One of them, a yellow Labrador retriever, ran away during the fire but returned Wednesday, Hull said.