Cause 'undetermined' for massive fire that displaced nearly 100 in Chester County: officials

A raging blaze spread through a number of business and apartments last week, displacing at least 90 residents as it burned an entire city block in a Chester County town.

Fire crews responded to the 4-alarm fire on the 20th block of South 3rd Street in downtown Oxford around 11:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Several buildings, including a warehouse, storefronts and apartments, went up in flames as smoke billowed from windows and roofs. Borough officials told FOX 29 the buildings housed businesses on the bottom floors and the top floors were all apartments.


Hours after the fire broke out, firefighters were still seen hitting hotspots while law enforcement blocked off the area to traffic for several blocks.

The street was reopened over the weekend after being shut down for several days as crews cleaned up the area, and officials conducted an investigation. The cause of the fire has been ruled "undetermined," according to the Chester County Fire Marshal. 

FOX 29's Hank Flynn was at the scene last week when a second floor deck collapsed to the ground.

"We looked out on our porch and we seen the whole sky lighting up and so me and my dad walked down by the post office and we had a front view of it," lifelong resident, Emily Rosen, said.

Rosen said she was sad to see such historic buildings go up in flames. "It’s devastating because this is our quaint, little town and everything is set a certain way and it’s always been that way and you always hope it’ll stay that way." 

Officials say 25 families, totaling 90 people were displaced after the fire burned through at least 31 units.

Schools in Oxford shut down to operate as shelters for the day as some roads remain closed in the area. The shelter was to be open overnight into Friday morning.

The Red Cross was on hand to assist and reported 39 people seeking shelter at Penn's Grove Middle School. Going forward, the Chester County Office of Emergency Management and Oxford Neighboring Services Center will work with displaced residents to find permanent homes.

No injuries have been reported, and the cause of the fire is not yet known.