Investigators are crediting a smoke alarm and a fire sprinkler system for “saving the lives of a family” and for reducing significant property damage after a blaze broke out inside a home near Elkton early Sunday morning, according to the Maryland Office of the State Fire Marshal.
One of the three occupants called 911 shortly after 1 a.m. on Sunday after discovering the fire inside a bedroom at the home in the 200 block of Independence Drive, prompting area volunteer fire companies to respond, fire officials said. A smoke alarm inside that home had sounded an alert, allowing that resident to make the discovery, fire officials added.
“Upon arrival, the fire department determined the fire had been extinguished with one fire sprinkler that had activated,” an MOSFM spokesperson said, naming Singerly Volunteer Fire Company of Elkton as one of the volunteer fire companies that responded.
During their on-scene investigation, MOSFM detectives determined that a “malfunctioning oscillating fan” had triggered the blaze and then listed accidental as the cause of the fire, the spokesperson reported.
No one was injured and damage to the home was “limited to an estimated $10,000,” according to the spokesperson, who commented, “The investigation determined that the activation of only one automatic fire sprinkler prevented the fire from spreading from the bedroom into the remainder of the home.”
The spokesperson further reported that relatives are providing temporary assistance to the residents, whom he identified as one adult and two children, ages 15 and 8.
In the wake of Sunday morning’s house fire, State Fire Marshal Brian S. Geraci issued this statement: “Residential fire sprinklers are proven to save lives, prevent injuries and protect property and valuables. The best home fire safety practice is combining a smoke alarm, an escape plan, and a residential fire sprinkler. Today we saw the effects of this winning combination.”
Under state law, a residential fire sprinkler is required in all new one-family and two-family homes in Maryland, MOSFM officials said. In addition, Maryland law prohibits local governments from “weakening the sprinkler requirement in their jurisdiction’s building codes,” they added.