MCKINNEY, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – Grass fires start all the time, just not usually on your front lawn.
A McKinney family, though, got a Christmas Day surprise when their son’s gift helped start one.
“All of a sudden, Cayden comes tearing in, ‘The lawn’s on fire…’ and we’re like ‘what?! Our lawn’s… what?'” said Justin Parson, a father of five.
The entire family, all seven of them in their picture-perfect matching pajamas, scrambled to put out the flames.
“There’s just tons of smoke,” Justin said. “There were kids out there with bowls and pitchers. Nissa had a blanket.”
“I’m covering it to smother it, just praying it would smother,” his wife, Nissa-Lynn Parson, said.
“It was crazy!” 12-year-old Cayden Parson said.
The trouble began with the magnifying glass Cayden received and his curiosity over whether he could use it to set a newspaper on fire.
“I focused it enough so it was just a little dot and it just burned the newspaper wherever the dot was, so it was really cool,” he said.
But then, he says, the whole paper erupted in flames and his brother dropped it.
“Part of it got into the lawn that started the fire,” Cayden said.
The fire spread across the lawn and had barely reached the neighbor’s, when the family was able to stop it.
Nissa-Lynn’s Facebook post about the fire spread about as quickly as the flames themselves, showing up on news sites in other languages halfway around the world.
“I’m like, ‘oooh my!'” she said.
They’ve seen some criticism in response, but mostly they’ve heard from people who remember starting small fires with a magnifying glass, too.
They’re happy no one was hurt and there was hardly any damage.
“It could have gone horribly bad. It absolutely could have gone real bad,” Justin said.
Now, it’s just another Christmas memory their kids will never forget.
“Because it turned out well, because it had a happy ending, it’s a great story that we’ll remember forever,” Nissa-Lynn said.