OXFORD — Seven months after a fire at the Oxford Meadow senior housing complex killed one resident and critically injured another, dozens of residents are expected to return home in the next few weeks.

Christmas wreaths were hung on the front door of Oxford Meadow Apartments last week in anticipation of the homecoming.

“We’re very close to moving back,” said Nancy Cushman of Speedway Inc., which manages the property. While the number of residents who will return to their apartments was unclear Tuesday, Cushman said several tenants have since relocated.

The reopening was delayed in part because of a boiler problem, she said, and a new boiler was installed last week. New ceilings and appliances were also being installed last week, and the fire system needed a final check by the fire chief, she said.

The work to bring the tenants home has been a lengthy process. The building was damaged when sparks from an electrical connection to a wall plug ignited a nearby trash can in the 39-unit senior housing complex in the early morning on May 21, displacing more than 40 people.

By the end of the first week following the fire, all but six of the displaced residents were in temporary housing. The owners worked with U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development program to find short-term apartments. Several of Speedway’s other vacant units were used to house fire victims. Additionally, Speedway reached out to owners of other apartment buildings to find vacancies for short-term rentals, Cushman said.


American Red Cross spokesman Justin Burkhardt said that typically the organization works with displaced residents for a week or two to find them an initial safe place to stay and to develop recovery plans with other agencies.

But in the case of the Oxford Meadow fire, it took a month or two to complete its work with providing immediate disaster response and connecting residents with other programs and agencies.

“It varies from case to case,” he said.

By June 1, most residents were allowed to return to the apartment complex to retrieve items.

The residents were able to leave items they did not need in their apartments while they were living elsewhere.

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