Fire tears through Oxford, Chester County; at least 90 people displaced

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Thursday, September 14, 2023
Fire tears through Oxford, Pa.; at least 90 people displaced
Fire tears through Oxford, Pa.; at least 90 people displaced

OXFORD, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- Dozens of people have been displaced from their homes after a four-alarm fire ripped through an entire block in a Chester County, Pennsylvania community.

Oxford borough officials say the fire started around 11:30 p.m. Wednesday on 3rd Street, likely in a warehouse.

The flames quickly spread to surrounding buildings, which contained both businesses and apartments. The borough says 90 people have been displaced.

As of late Thursday afternoon, fire crews were still dumping water on hotspots.

"I woke up to my air conditioner lit on fire and it was just in flames and it was a lot," said 15-year-old Aniah McClain.

She says she screamed for her grandpa and then heard police pounding on their apartment door. She said she and her family made it out safely.

Chopper 6: Crews battle large fire in Oxford, Chester County

Twenty-five families like hers had to be evacuated because of the fire. Five businesses also burned down.

"Probably about 90 people who have lost everything now, including their vehicles, and we're just thankful nobody was seriously hurt," said Kathryn Cloyd, the borough council president.

Still, the extent of the damage is unknown.

"It's just been a roller coaster of emotions," said Randy Grace, who owns Maroon Hornet Comics and Collectibles with his wife, Lori.

"We're numb. We're numb. We can't get in and see what's going on," she said.

The Red Cross has set up a shelter at Penns Grove Middle School nearby, where the community has been dropping off clothes and supplies.

One of the helpers is Danny Hulse, the general manager of Dubarry of Ireland. He says the fire likely started in the same building where his store is. Rather than harp on his losses, he's focusing on recovery.

"Our community is what makes our town and it makes the businesses, it makes everything that we do here. We feel it's really important to give back," he said.

The borough is looking for a more permanent solution than the middle school to house people affected by the fire.

The cause is still under investigation.