Tom Beck says spending Christmas in a hotel wasn't exactly part of his family's holiday plans, but a fire to their home left them with no choice.
His son made the shocking discovery on Christmas Eve.
"He came in the house and he said the garage is on fire," said Beck. "I saw what looked like a compressor on fire, so I pulled the plug, but the flames were shooting pretty high."
Beck was able to get his wife who suffers from throat cancer, and was resting inside, out of the home just as crews arrived on the scene.
"The garage is totally gone and then part of our house on the back half is totally gone, but the neighbors house was taken out completely."
Elizabeth Novachek lives next door to the Beck family, and says she was in South Dakota when she got the news.
"Found out last night it was a total loss, now we're just scraping up the pieces and start all over," said Novachek. "It's never a good time to have something like this happen to anybody, but especially around the holidays, it's just one of those things you never think is going to happen to you."
That's especially true for Novachek. She's been a volunteer firefighter for counties around Nebraska for years, but says there was no way to prepare for the unexpected fire.
"I've been on the helping end of it, never on the end of the fire, I've always been on the opposite end of the fire hose," said Novachek.
Both families say while it's hard to find the silver lining, they're just happy to be alive.
"I'm thankful nobody was hurt, nobody was killed, I have my daughter and son, the neighbors all have each other," said Novachek.