KEANSBURG — A transition home that helps women battling addiction get back on their feet needs an assist of their own after a fire on Friday.

An electrical fire in the attic of Oxford House's "Big Red" location forced out eight women from the home on Port Monmouth Road. The women also lost all of their personal items, according to Tara Meyer, outreach director for Ocean and Monmouth counties.

Meyer said the main power line into the house shorted out, causing a fire in the attic that spread to the rest of the house.

"These are woman who are committed to their recovery and to staying clean and they're just getting back to work, back to school and reunifying with their families and children. The people who come to us at Oxford House are just at the beginning of making a change to their lives," Meyer said.

"Most of them didn't have a lot to begin with" given the status of their recovery from substance abuse, according to Meyer. "I can't imagine what that's like to lose everything you have when you're trying to get started again."

The organization says it welcomes donations of women’s clothes, toiletries, makeup, basic necessities and gift cards.

There are several ways to make a donation:

  • Donations of items can be made at two dropbox locations at 60 Francis Place in Keansburg and at 495 Madison Ave. in Toms River.
  • Gift cards can be sent to their New Jersey headquarters at P.O. Box 10, Millstone Township, NJ 08535
  • Monetary donations can be made via Facebook

Each Oxford House location is self-run by its residents who are in early recovery from addiction.

"They do everything there themselves. They pay their own bills, they take care of the house, they have weekly house meetings. We stay so they have someplace to go to in case there's any problems. We stay behind the scenes to support them in any way."

Oxford House has 147 locations for men and women in New Jersey.

The women are staying in a Red Bank hotel for the next week while Oxford House looks for another home to rent.

"We want to keep them committed to recovery and as comfortable as possible so this traumatic experience doesn't affect their sobriety," Meyer said.

Jess Bern contributed to this report.

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