Carrollwood, Florida -- Hillsborough County Fire Division Chief Marshal Stephen Kendrick said the flames at the condominium fire went up in less than a minute after lightning struck the building.
On Monday afternoon, a bolt shot down through one building at the Grande Oasis condo complex and burned 25 units.
"Even though those units burned quickly, the fire walls in place protected the other buildings from burning," said Kendrick.
Typically, Florida condo and apartment construction does not wrap individual units with firewalls. Only between buildings are fire walls put in place.
"I'd like to see a fire sprinkler system put in all buildings, but cost is a factor there," said Kendrick.
He said 80 percent of loss of life during fires is residential and those can be prevented if sprinkler systems were inside.
"The old saying was every sprinkler head is like having a little firefighter inside the building. Because it's not like the movies where all the heads go off. Typically about 98 percent of all fires are extinguished by one head going off and they go off individually," said Kendrick.
He said in Florida only large commercial structures have fire sprinklers and fire stations. He also says the fire chief and fire marshals are pushing for fire sprinkler legislation.
For more information about the Florida chapter for American Fire Sprinklers go to: