PIKESVILLE, Md. - We visited the site of heartache for new homeowners. A family of four moved into a Savage home a month ago. On Sunday night, lightning struck the roof.
The husband, wife, and two kids stayed with neighbor Sonali Sinha.
"So they ran up to check what's wrong and they saw the sprinklers around in the bathroom," said Sinha.
The family will be out of their home at least four months. But investigators say the fire sprinklers spared them from more damage and possible deaths.
A report out Monday by the Maryland State Fire Marshal's Office shows fire deaths are down by 21% compared to last year.
"Zero fire deaths to both the occupants, as well as the firefighters, if we can have that experience we are truly doing our job," said Deputy State Fire Marshal Bruce Bouch.
Starting October 1st, Maryland law will require sprinklers in new single-family homes. Investigators point to this statistic: there have been no fire deaths since 1992 in new townhomes, when sprinklers were mandated.
"You don't give the fire the chance to get that stronghold, the chance that it needs to grow," said Bouch.
The cost may have you thinking twice: $1.41 a square foot and more to retrofit an older home. But investigators say a smoke alarm combined with sprinklers will increase your survival rate by 80%.
"They were glad at least they had this good alarm system, plus the sprinklers, so it was like some kind of relief for them," said Sinha.
The Fire Marshal's Office says the number one cause of fire this year is keeping combustibles too close to heat.
If you want to read the report, click here .
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